President Donald Trump leads an unusually excessive lifestyle as it is, and now the people in his administration seem to be following in his footsteps while traveling extravagantly, using expensive jets and refusing cheaper commercial flights.
But there’s one problem with that.
Their lavish travel funded by the taxpayers' money.
Energy Secretary Rick Perry recently submitted his travel records under pressure from House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) for his extensive traveling. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt also faces an expanding investigation into his travel by private jet.
Similarly, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin backed out of a congressional trip to Europe just recently, after receiving backlash for a trip that combined official travel with sightseeing and a Wimbledon tennis match.
Former Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price resigned under pressure from Trump after an uproar on Price’s private charter planes for government business.
He spent more than $500,000 on his travel, but pledged a $51,887 check to reimburse the government for his seats on private charter flights.
Trump’s senior adviser Kellyanne Conway also accompanied Price many times, but she won’t pay back from her pocket, because according to the White House she was supposedly traveling as a “guest.”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also came under fire last year, after spending $800,000 on personal travel. He has flown on military planes eight times since March. He reportedly requested a federal government jet for getaway to France, Italy and Scotland with his wife.
Just recently, Vice President Mike Pence walked out of the NFL game between the Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers, after a number of 49ers took a knee during the national anthem. That decision didn't come without a hefty price tag for taxpayers — and it's not like Pence didn't know the players would kneel. He spent taxpayer funds to make a political point. Not exactly draining the swamp, is he?
I left today's Colts game because @POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem.— Vice President Pence (@VP) October 8, 2017
According to the Air Force, flying a C-32, the model of plane used for Air Force 2, for one hour costs around $30,000. Pence's flight from Las Vegas to Indianapolis on Saturday took about three hours and 20 minutes, costing about $100,000
The vice president then flew from Indianapolis to Los Angeles on Sunday, which took about four hours and 45 minutes, costing about another $142,500.
So the grand total on his walk out was about $242,500. Some of the flight’s cost will be reimbursed by the Republican National Committee, because Pence was attending a political event there.
All of this money could have gone to the suffering Puerto Ricans to provide them basic necessities of food, water and shelter, had it not been spent on these unreasonable travel expenses.
The White House has imposed a new approval process for charter jet travel by non-national-security Cabinet members, to tighten the president’s administration.
The protocol will be supervised by Chief of Staff John F. Kelly.
It is pertinent to note that somehow Trump himself has encouraged his administration to take these steps, amid making claims of draining the swamp.
“When you have a president who is visiting his private resorts every weekend at great cost to taxpayers, it is not surprising that Cabinet members are using private jets to get to standard meetings,” said Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a watchdog group that recently called for an investigation into Trump appointees’ travel.
Thumbnail Credits: Reuters, Kevin Lamarque