Seeing as President Donald Trump is super cautious with how the federal government spends its money on meal programs for low-income families and educational initiatives, one would hope that he's equally frugal in his own endeavors, vacations included. But how much does it cost for Trump to go to Mar-a-Lago, his "winter White House?" Trump's go-to vacation spot costs a pretty penny for taxpayers, considering all of the security it takes to transport the president to Palm Beach, Florida, on the weekends.
In October of last year, the U.S. Government Accountability Office assembled a report estimating the costs of one of former President Barack Obama's trips that he took in 2013. Obama first flew to Chicago for a speech, then flew to Palm Beach. In total, the trip cost around $3.6 million — a fact that Trump himself tweeted about disdainfully at the time. In assessing the report, Politico estimates that Trump's Florida excursions garner a similar $3 million bill.
Since taking over the presidency, Trump has been to Mar-a-Lago five times. His visits have Palm Beach locals fretting over their own increasing costs, one being a need to pay "time and a half to sheriff’s deputies to secure the president’s exclusive members-only club." Currently, the county's resources are being used to cover the costs, but The Washington Post reports that "commissioners are pleading with federal officials to step in and relieve the financial burden" for the community, hoping for reprieve. Local Sheriff Ric Bradshaw estimated that "the cost of providing help during Trump visits had reached about $1.4 million" by mid-February. "I was very firm and to the point that we expected this money to be reimbursed, that it shouldn’t be this difficult for them to figure out," Bradshaw insisted.
Trump's Mar-a-Lago weekends aren't the only unnecessary, high-cost aspects of his personal life. Housing Melania and Barron Trump in New York's Trump Tower, for instance, requires $127,000 to $145,000 per day, though by June they're expected to move to Washington. Still, criticism of Trump's financial priorities comes at a time when government spending is being scrutinized by the president himself. Meanwhile, Trump has shown his eagerness to defund the Environmental Protection Agency and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, among other existing federal departments and agencies.
That the president insists on using government funds to fuel his "vacations" (though the White House refuses to call them that) will continue to be an issue for citizens who are watching their much-needed government-funded departments dwindle. Chartering Air Force One, securing Mar-a-Lago, and keeping Palm Beach protected all comes at a high cost — a cost that becomes exponentially grander as the trips become more frequent, or even regular occurrences.