President Donald Trump’s travel expenses are estimated to surpass those of former President Barack Obama in less than one year. Before taking office, Trump frequently criticized his predecessor for his golf outings.
Trump has been in office for 81 days and has already spent an estimated $21.6 million on trips to his Mar-a-Lago property, CNN reports. Other estimates suggest the cost has been $24 million.
While it is difficult to calculate the exact cost, the $21.6 estimate is based on a similar trip Obama took to Florida in 2013, which reportedly cost $3.6 million, according to CNN. Trump has spent a total of 21 days at his Mar-a-Lago property since taking office.
In December 2016 Judicial Watch, a conservative government watchdog, estimated Obama’s travel expenses over his two terms to be $96 million. This includes business and personal trips.
Incidentally, at the time the report came out Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said, “President-elect Trump can immediately save taxpayers money by reforming presidential travel.”
Prior to his election Trump frequently took to Twitter to slam Obama’s traveling and golfing.
We pay for Obama’s travel so he can fundraise millions so Democrats can run on lies. Then we pay for his golf.
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 14, 2014
Can you believe that,with all of the problems and difficulties facing the U.S., President Obama spent the day playing golf.Worse than Carter
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 14, 2014
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 20, 2014
“@gretawire: PresObama is not busy talking to Congress about Syria..he is playing golf …go figure”
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 8, 2013
Obama should play golf with Republicans & opponents rather than his small group of friends. That way maybe the terrible gridlock would end.
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 19, 2012
The unprecedented cost of travel for the president has also come under fire due to his many proposed budget cuts, including cuts of $9 billion (13 percent) for the Department of Education, $15.1 billion (17.9 percent) for the Department of Health and Human Services and $2.6 billion (31 percent) for the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Associated Press reported that Palm Beach County is considering implementing a tax on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort because his frequent trips there cost about $60,000 a day every time the president is there. With a total of 21 days spent there since Trump took office, that total exceeds $1 million in just a few short months.
“We’re very honored to have the president here, but at the same time, his travel here is such high frequency he’s not visiting Palm Beach County he’s governing from it,” County Commissioner Dave Kerner said in a recent interview. “Whatever our priorities are, the taxpayers didn’t pay this money to us to protect the president.”
CNN reported that the Florida trips will likely end in May when the weather gets much hotter, but it is assumed he will then be visiting New York where First Lady Melania Trump still resides and his New Jersey-based Trump National Golf Club.
Security for Melania and Barron Trump while they stay in New York without the president, who has not yet visited New York during his term, costs between $127,000 and $146,000 a day, according to New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill. The department estimates “an average daily rate of $308,000” when the president does decide to visit.
Assuming the cost to protect Melania and Barron Trump is the more conservative $127,000, a full year would cost the city of New York about $46.3 million greater than the budget cut Trump proposed for the Small Business Administration alone. When factoring in Trump also visiting for 20 days in one year, that total goes up to nearly $50 million.
The First Family began racking up costs much greater than the Obamas before Trump was even inaugurated, Politifact reported:
“During the transition period, the city took on most of the cost of protecting the Trumps in New York. A spokesperson for New York mayor Bill de Blasio told us Donald, Melania and Barron Trump ran up a $37 million bill for security from Election Day to the inauguration Jan. 20. (De Blasio has requested the federal government reimburse his city for security costs, and Congress has doled about $7 million.)
“In comparison, the city of Chicago spent at least $2.2 million to protect Obama’s home in Chicago from his election in November 2008 to his inauguration in January 2009, the Chicago Tribune reported.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. Secret Service requested an additional $60 million in funding for the next year, according to a recent review of documents by The Washington Post.
The agency did not provide the publication with comparison figures for past presidents due to security concerns.
The White House Office of Management and Budget denied the request, The Post initially reported, but an agent with the OMB then denied this claim:
“After the article was posted online Wednesday, an OMB staffer issued a statement to The Post saying that the Secret Service is continuing to refine its budgetary estimates. The staffer also said that the claim that OMB denied the $26.8million request for Trump Tower and family expenses was ‘outright untrue’ and that OMB ‘supported its funding.'”
A 14-year Secret Service agent told The Post that Trump’s lifestyle was “an unanticipated reality” and that the agency “had to quickly readjust operations.”