Recently President Donald Trump returned to Mar-a-Lago for a golf trip in what became his 29th trip to the Palm Beach, Florida for-profit resort and with that, he raised the total taxpayer golf tab to an astounding $133.8 million. A little fast math will show that that amount is equal to 334 years of presidential salary.
When Barack Obama was president, one of Trump’s favorite things to do was to criticize him for playing too much golf, claiming it was too great of an expense to the taxpayers of the country. Where’s that criticism now?
And three years later he tweeted, “Can you believe that, with all of the problems and difficulties facing the U.S., President Obama spent the day playing golf. Worse than Carter.”
During the leadup to the 2016 presidential election, then-candidate Trump promised over and over that golf would not be part of his presidential schedule. He told a rally audience early in February 2016, “I love golf, but if I were in the White House, I don’t think I’d ever see Turnberry again. I don’t think I’d ever see Doral again,” referring to his courses in Scotland and Miami, he said, “I don’t ever think I’d see anything. I just want to stay in the White House and work my ass off.”
Here we are, three years into Trump’s presidency, and he has been on the golf course TWO AND A HALF times as much as Obama had been at the same point in his presidency.
Here’s the real kicker- Trump will ONLY play at courses he owns. So the cost to taxpayers? FOUR TIMES as high as the cost to taxpayers as Obama’s. Over two-thirds of those trips are huuuge trips- seven figure trips on Air Force One. Obama usually played on courses at military bases near the White House. Trump has traveled extensively to Florida, New Jersey, LA, Scotland, and Ireland.
Also, because he insists on playing at his own courses, that means he has to profit somewhat from hotel and restaurant charges for the White House and Secret Service staff who travel with him.
The Washington Post recently reported that Trump’s business has billed as much as $650 per room per night at Mar-A-Lago for Secret Service members who stayed there. That’s over three times the normal rate than federal employees are supposed to spend in Florida. They’ve also been charged $17,000 a month for a cottage at Trumps New Jersey golf resort. Taxpayers also paid a Mar-a-Lago bar tab in the amount of $1,006.
Since the White House will not detail how many executive branch employees stay at Trump hotels or how much they are spending there, it’s hard to know exactly how much of taxpayer money is landing back in Trump’s bank account.
The president remains the sole beneficiary of the trust that owns the Trump family business and although he pledged he would distance/separate himself from the Trump Organization, he never has.