Some Americans try to arrange frugal travel when they depart their homes for Thanksgiving weekend. But there’s one expense they’ve probably forgotten they’ll be paying for: President Donald Trump’s trip to his Mar-a-Lago vacation estate in Palm Beach, Florida.
Trump left for his five-day Florida vacation on Tuesday. Yet he’s no stranger to the estate: for his first year in office so far, he has made the trip to Mar-a-Lago a total of 25 days, Newsweek reported. At the culmination of this holiday weekend, that number will be up to 30 days, or one whole month, that he's taken time off to visit his Palm Beach estate.
The estimated travel costs for his trip range from $2 million at the lowest estimate to around $3.6 million. Both estimates are based on how much it costs to fuel and fly Air Force One.
But the total costs could turn out to be much higher. In November 2016, security costs for the same Thanksgiving holiday weekend for Trump, then president-elect, and his family cost U.S. taxpayers around $7 million. As president, that number is likely to be much higher.
Local taxpayers will also have to pay a higher tab. According to Florida real estate site The Real Deal, Trump’s summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this year cost local residents more than $1.5 million in added security and police overtime hours — and that summit only lasted for two days, not a five-day weekend like Trump’s current visit will be.
In total, the sum of Trump’s visits to Mar-a-Lago have cost taxpayers $16 million in expenses, or $640,000 for every day that he’s visited, not counting this weekend.
The frequent travels and golf outings that Trump has made contradict what he told voters he'd be up to as president. On the campaign trail and before announcing his run for office, Trump was a frequent critic of former President Barack Obama’s vacation outings.
As recently as last November, President-elect Trump said he’d be limiting his personal travels.
“There's just so much to be done," Trump said. “So I don't think we'll be very big on vacations, no."
When will Obama next go on vacation if he wins the election? The day after.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 12, 2012
Pres. Obama is about to embark on a 17 day vacation in his ‘native’ Hawaii, putting Secret Service away from families on Christmas. Aloha!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2013
But since becoming president up to the end of August this year, Trump had already surpassed Obama’s first year vacations — in fact, Trump’s first-year trips tripled Obama’s vacation time during the former president's first year in office.
Presidents deserve to have rest and relaxation. After all, they’re performing one of the most stressful jobs on the planet. Yet for someone who criticized his predecessor’s travels to an excessive amount, Trump sure likes to spend a lot of time out of the office. And in the end, all of those travels cost we all pay for are millions of dollars more than what we had to pay while Obama was president.
With the end of the year coming up, perhaps Trump ought to make this his New Year’s resolution: to stop with the hypocrisy, and start focusing on the needs of the American taxpayer, rather than the travels they can pay for him to take.
Banner / Thumbnail : Jim Bourg/Reuters