Trump milking taxpayers
3/24/2017, 8:27 p.m.
President Trump doesn’t want to spend federal dollars on after-school programs, meals for poor people or heating assistance that helps keep folks alive. But he has no problem wasting more than $3 million a pop to spend weekends at his private Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.
President Trump already has made four trips there since becoming president on Jan. 20, and on Friday, March 17, he headed there for the fifth time.
Despite vowing during his campaign that he “would rarely leave the White House because there’s so much work to be done” and “would not be a president who took vacations” because “you don’t have time to take time off,” President Trump has visited Trump-branded properties each of the past six weekends. That streak hit seven when he landed at Mar-a-Lago last Friday.
In fact, President Trump has spent time at Trump-branded property every weekend of his presidency other than the very first, when he created chaos throughout the country by signing a Muslim ban executive order that was later stayed by a federal court.
Let’s run through them.
Feb. 4-5: President Trump heads to Mar-a-Lago for the first time as president. There, he and Melania attend a “Vienna to Versailles” black tie Red Cross Ball that was closed to the media (Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was in attendance, however).
President Trump’s inaugural appearance at Mar-a-Lago comes just days after the Trump Organization announces the club’s initiation fees are doubling to $200,000 (taxes and $14,000 annual dues not included).
Feb. 11-12: Trump travels to Mar-a-Lago for the second consecutive weekend. His guest is Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. On Saturday night, President Trump and Prime Minister Abe deal with a North Korea missile crisis in full view of diners on one of the club’s terraces, with national security documents illuminated by aides’ cell phones.
Feb. 18-19: The president heads to Mar-a-Lago yet again. While there, President Trump, who repeatedly criticized former President Obama for playing golf while president, enjoys his sixth golf outing during his first month in office. In a sign that he might feel a bit guilty, the White House is later forced to admit that officials initially misled reporters about the amount of golf President Trump played during his 18-hole excursion with pro golfer Rory McIlroy.
The roughly $10 million President Trump already has spent on unnecessary travel approaches the $12 million former President Obama spent each year.
Feb. 25-26: President Trump doesn’t travel to Florida, but he does stop by his swanky hotel in downtown Washington for dinner on Saturday night. The president’s outing to the Trump International Hotel is documented by Benny Johnson of IJR, a conservative media outlet founded by Republican operatives.
Mr. Johnson, who writes a fawning first-person account about dining next to President Trump’s table, says that he “received a tip from a well informed source that Trump would be dining at the BLT Steakhouse inside his Trump hotel at approximately 6 PM that evening.” Lo and behold, the tipster was correct.