Trump Back At Mar-A-Lago, Raising Taxpayer Golf Tab To $151.5 Million

Donald Trump has arrived at his Palm Beach, Florida, resort for the 31st golf vacation there of his presidency, raising the taxpayer-funded travel and security total for his hobby to $151.5 million, according to a HuffPost analysis.

Trump has already played golf on his own properties 289 times since taking office in January 2017, although he claimed during his 2016 campaign that he would not have time for a vacation at all. “I just want to stay in the White House and work my ass off,” he said in February 2016.

Trump’s insistence on playing at his own properties ― rather than courses on military bases close to the White House, as former President Barack Obama mainly did — has made his outings enormously expensive for American taxpayers. Each trip to Mar-a-Lago costs $3.4 million flying Trump, his staff and the vehicles needed for his motorcade on Air Force One and a number of cargo planes, as well as the expenses incurred by the Coast Guard to patrol both the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean adjacent to his for-profit resort.

Trump has also made 23 trips to his course in Bedminster, New Jersey, at a cost of $1.1 million each as well as trips to his courses in Palos Verdes, California; Doral, Florida; Turnberry, Scotland; and Doonbeg, Ireland.

The trip to Scotland cost taxpayers an extra $3 million over what it would have cost for Trump to remain in London an extra two days before flying to Helsinki, Finland, for his meeting with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. A Mar-a-Lago visit over Thanksgiving 2019 cost taxpayers an additional $5.3 million because of all the extra expenses of flying both modified Boeing 747s across the Atlantic and back necessitated by Trump’s decision to visit Afghanistan from Florida, rather than leaving from Washington, D.C.

The $151.5 million total means that Trump has now spent the equivalent of 379 years of presidential salary — which he and his supporters frequently boast that he does not take — playing golf.

The White House has refused to provide information about how much Trump’s golf trips cost, and, in fact, declines to answer most questions about his golf visits, even refusing to confirm whether he is playing golf when he is physically at his golf courses.

But a 2019 Government Accountability Office report regarding Trump’s four early 2017 visits to Mar-a-Lago provided hard data and a methodology that HuffPost followed in its own analysis.

That review took a conservative approach to determining costs. For example, it used a per-hour rate of $15,994 for Trump’s use of the smaller Air Force One that he takes to Bedminster, even though that figure accounts only for fuel and maintenance, not the additional factors that GAO used when it determined the $273,000-per-hour cost of operating the larger plane.

Trump is scheduled to remain in Florida through the holidays, meaning his total number of days on the course is likely to hit 300 before he returns to the White House.

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