April 6, 2017
Trump Diminishes Presidency by Using Official Trips to Market His Florida Resort
Statement of Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen
Note: President Donald Trump meets today with China’s president, Xi Jinping, at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago. Trump has made five trips to Mar-a-Lago, totaling 17 days, since taking office in January. At an estimated $3 million per visit, Trump already has racked up at least $15 million in taxpayer expenses in three months alone. If he continues at this rate, Trump will spend $60 million in taxpayer money on Mar-a-Lago trips in just his first year in office. In contrast, President Barack Obama’s travel was estimated at $85 million-$96 million over eight years.
President Donald Trump is diminishing the office of the presidency by turning himself into a walking advertisement for his global resort properties.
Mar-a-Lago has doubled its initiation fee to $200,000, which only the superrich can afford. Trump is using Mar-a-Lago visitors as a focus group, meaning that only a tiny slice of America, with its very peculiar perspective on American affairs, is providing him with feedback. Guests also have the ability to directly advance their own personal and business agendas.
Trump’s weekend visits to Mar-a-Lago likely are costing taxpayers about $3 million a pop. Enhanced security requirements for this visit with the Chinese president undoubtedly are adding to the total.
Trump harshly criticized President Barack Obama for the costs associated with his vacations, but it’s obvious that Trump’s vacations will vastly exceed what Obama spent. Trump could use Camp David instead, saving taxpayers.
Other presidents have taken trips to their personal properties, but never to this extent and never to family-owned, for-profit resorts that benefit as a result of the publicity that regular presidential visits bring.