Report Shows Taxpayers Paid at Least $13.6 Million for Just 4 of Trump’s Trips to Mar-a-Lago
As Donald Trump tries to get taxpayers to fund the border wall that Mexico was supposed to pay for, a new government report shows that taxpayers have already paid over $13.6 million dollars for just four of Trump’s trips to Mar-a-Lago.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) analyzed travel costs for 4 trips to Mar-a-Lago between February 3 and March 5, 2017, and here’s what they found:
GAO estimated that federal agencies incurred costs of about $13.6 million for the President’s four trips to Mar-a-Lago from February 3 through March 5, 2017. This estimate consisted of approximately $10.6 million for operating costs of government aircraft and boats and $3 million for temporary duty costs of government personnel supporting the President’s travel, including transportation, lodging, and meals and incidental expenses.
Oh, and about those “lodging” costs: some of that was paid directly to Mar-a-Lago, which Trump owns:
We identified about $60,000 in expenses paid to Mar-a-Lago for these four trips. DOD lodging expenses of about $24,000 were within GSA limits of 300 percent of the per diem rate. DHS expenses of about $36,000 were for space required by the Secret Service for operational purposes.
Yes, Trump charged the Secret Service for the space they took up protecting him. The report also notes that these expenses don’t include “meals and incidental expenses, if any, that may have been incurred at the Mar-a-Lago club,” so if the Secret Service ate any hamberders, we paid for those too.
But that’s not all. GAO also notes that while they tried their best, they weren’t able to account for all of the costs because the Trump White House didn’t respond to their requests for information:
Although we collected the major, unclassified travel-related costs that agencies incurred (hereafter referred to as costs), we did not collect travel costs for officials from the Executive Office of the President. Therefore, our totals represent an approximate amount spent for the four trips. We contacted White House Counsel’s Office in April 2017 and January 2018 to solicit information from the Executive Office of the President related to coordinating travel for the President and any costs associated with White House staff traveling with the President. As
of January 2019, the White House had not responded to our requests for information.
But that’s still not all. In addition to all the other costs GAO couldn’t measure, they also couldn’t account for the cost to local law enforcement during the trips:
We also did not include certain classified cost information or information about federal funds provided to local law enforcement by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The Washington Post did an analysis of GAO’s findings, and calculated that Trump’s trips to Mar-a-Lago so far may have cost taxpayers over $64 million. They also note that the four trips GAO analyzed cost taxpayers about the same amount as the “war games” that Trump canceled with South Korea after his summit with Kim Jong Un.
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