Trump’s $56 Million in Golf Trips, Cost by Extravagant Cost
Americans elected a businessman president for the first time in 2016, and certain things come with the territory. For example, the leader of the free world travels at tremendous taxpayer expense.
If the businessman in question does not have great respect for the public good — bear with us here — he could end up spending millions upon millions while boosting his own business in the process.
It would get even worse if his wife didn’t live with him and — bear with us again — his preferred vacation spot was far from Washington D.C. In other words, Donald Trump’s love of golf and his own Florida resort have cost American taxpayers a fortune in just over a year. (Trump Golf Count keeps a running tab.)
Here’s a breakdown of those golf trips, cost by extravagant cost, totaling at least $55.82 million for taxpayers through just 13 months.
1. $26.98 million in flights to Mar-a-Lago
During his first 13 months in office, Trump flew down to his Mar-a-Lago resort 13 times. Those flights alone cost $27 million.
Why so expensive? Air Force One is costly enough to operate, but it’s the support planes and defense aircraft that really run up the price. Based on past trips by presidents, The Washington Post estimated Trump flights cost $514,000 per hour.
Next: Securing Trump’s Florida resort is very expensive.
2. $13 million for Mar-a-Lago security
By late July, the U.S. Coast Guard had spent $6.6 million protecting Mar-a-Lago. A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by the Post led to the revelation.
Those expenses covered the patrol boats in the waters, helicopters circling overhead, and other anti-terrorism precautions. Since that amount covered seven visits, securing Mar-a-Lago costs taxpayers about $1 million per visit, or $13 million for Trump’s 13 visits.
Next: Trump’s 11 outings at his golf club in Bedminster ran up another huge tab.
3. $8.48 million for flights to Bedminster
Trump has more than one golf property to promote, so when the weather is nice he’ll take his entourage to Bedminster, New Jersey. Costs to fly him and his family and staff there ran taxpayers about $800,000 per trip.
So, to cover his 11 trips, these flights cost $8.48 million. Overall, Trump spent 42 days in Bedminster over 13 months.
Next: Fact-checking site Snopes calculated Secret Service golf cart rentals costing over $100,000 per year.
4. $103,000 to cover golf carts for the Secret Service
When a U.S. president goes anywhere, the Secret Service must pay for resources needed to protect him. Since Trump has not divested from his family businesses, these payments actually go to the family business when at Trump properties.
Secret Service golf cart rentals alone cost taxpayers $60,000 through August 2017, USA Today reported. The folks at Snopes who fact-checked these claims estimated that cost the agency $103,000 per year on the golf course.
Next: Local law enforcement spends $60,000 per day while Trump golfs.
5. $3.4 million for Palm Beach law enforcement during Trump visits
While the military handles Air Force One and the Secret Service covers Trump’s personal security, local law enforcement must work overtime to protect Trump as well. The Associated Press reported Palm Beach spent $60,000 per day covering these costs with Trump in town.
Using the 57 days Trump spent at Mar-a-Lago as a guide, that means it cost Palm Beach about $3.4 million since January 2017. Florida county commissioners debated whether to levy a special tax on Trump’s property to help pay for these visits.
Next: Protecting an out-of-town First Lady ran into tens of millions.
6. $75 million to protect Melania and Barron in New York
Trump’s lifestyle — including not living with his wife and son for five months — racked up tens of millions of taxpayer dollars as well. NYPD protection for Trump Tower, where Melania and Barron Trump lived, cost $500,000 per day, according to department estimates.
By choosing golf rather than visiting them in New York, Trump made his priorities clear. Over five months, the total cost of protecting Trump Tower likely ran $75 million. Military flights for Melania to join her husband during this time period also cost taxpayers $675,000, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Next: Golf is for pleasure, not business, in the Trump administration.
7. Trump’s golf trips rarely involve White House business.
On the Trump Golf Count site, Sophie Germain listed every golf partner of the president’s over 13 months. Of the dozens with whom Trump played, only Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, was a head of state.
Otherwise, athletes took up the majority of Trump’s time on the green. Ernie Els, Peyton Manning, Tiger Woods, and Fred Funk were a few of the names. Businessmen make up a smaller chunk, followed by a handful of politicians and lawyers.
Next: Trump could exceed eight years of Obama travel expenses in three years.
8. At this rate, Trump will outspend 8 years of Obama in 3-4 years.
You may remember Trump the private citizen tweeting stuff like this:
All told, eight years of Obama family travel cost taxpayers $97 million, according to the conservative Judicial Watch. Following his first months in office, it looked as if Trump could cost America $100-200 million more in four years. Unbelievable, indeed.
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