WASHINGTON, March 7, 2017—The Trump family has spent over $11.3 million taxpayer dollars in travel alone during Trump’s first month in office. The cost to protect Melania Trump at Trump Tower is enormous, as is providing permanent Secret Service protection for 18 members of Trump’s family. By the end of 2017, the costs to taxpayers could reach the hundreds of millions.
In seven weeks since taking office Donald Trump has taken four weekend trips to Mar-a-Lago, his for-profit club in Florida. The first three trips reportedly cost taxpayers $10 million. Trump’s family has also traveled extensively since January.
Despite Trump’s promises that “no new deals” would be made by the Trump Organization during his time in office, Trump’s eldest sons and current managers of the family business have continued to make new deals around the world. Eric and Donald Jr. took a trip to Uruguay to promote a Trump-branded property in January. Hotel bills for Secret Service and embassy staff connected to the trip totaled $97,830, paid with U.S. tax dollars.
In February Eric flew to the Dominican Republic to review another deal, and while expenses have not yet been made public, the Washington Post revealed that Secret Service spent $5,470 at a five-star hotel in advance of the trip “to scope out the area.” Both Trump sons flew to Dubai two weeks later to attend the opening of a Trump-branded golf course. At the end of February, Eric and Don were in Vancouver for the opening of a Trump hotel. Costs for the trips have not been made public yet.
For comparison, the Obama family spent a total of $96 million during Barack Obama’s eight years in office. At the current rate, the Trump family’s travel will cost around $135 million annually, ten times what the Obama family cost taxpayers. The Obamas spent a total of 14 nights at their home in Chicago between 2009 and 2017. Trump has spent nearly one third of his time in office at his for-profit club in Florida.
Travel is not the only area where the Trump family is costing taxpayers an unprecedented amount. Eighteen members of Trump’s family have permanent Secret Service protection, needing 920 Secret Service agents and support staff in Washington D.C. and New York City.
Protecting Melania Trump at Trump Tower in Manhattan is estimated to cost between $146,000 and $500,000 per day. Mrs. Trump has decided to stay in New York until 10-year-old son Barron finishes the school year in June. Maintaining and protecting a second home in New York City can cost between $80 million (*$53,290,000 + $27,104,000 for Trump spending weekends in NYC) and $183 million per year.
Many have been quick to point out that Ms. Trump’s decision will cost taxpayers annually more than it costs to fund the National Endowment of the Arts (budget: $150 million), the National Endowment for the Humanities (budget: $150 million), the Minority Business Development Agency (budget: $36 million) and the Civil Rights Division (budget: $156 million) and Environmental and Natural Resources Division (budget: $123 million) of the Justice Department, all of which Trump has threatened with budget cuts.
Featured image: buck82, Flickr Creative Commons