On Sunday, March 26, President Trump made his 13th trip to a golf course bearing his name in the nine weeks since he assumed office on January 20. This time, he went to Trump National Golf Club in Virginia.
President Trump is again at Trump National Golf Club in Virginia, per pool. It is his 13th golf course trip since taking office 9 weeks ago.
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) March 26, 2017
All of his golf outings are to properties that he owns.
But here’s the more staggering fact:
Eight weekends in a row, since the inauguration, he has visited a Trump-owned property.
As president, he is routinely spotlighting his own businesses.
Former Secret Service agents said the setup at Mar-a-Lago and the president’s other regular clubs presents challenges that their agency wasn’t built to deal with. The Service’s main job is to protect the president from physical threats and monitoring for wiretaps and other listening devices — but not from the kinds of counterespionage challenges presented by the president’s choice to eat, sleep and work at a club accessible to anyone who can get a member to invite them in.
You and I know that his businesses aren’t forced to shut down when he visits. (We have seen the pix on social media.)
That’s not the case when he flies into Florida.
Lantana Airport, a Palm Beach County facility, is about six miles southwest of Mar-a-Lago. It loses business every time Trump goes to Mar-a-Lago because the Secret Service closes down the airport. So all of its clients also lose business. However, “tenants are unlikely to receive any concessions” or compensation from the federal government.
Acts of hypocrisy
Before becoming president, Donald Trump used Twitter to criticize President Obama for playing golf.
While our wonderful president was out playing golf all day, the TSA is falling apart, just like our government! Airports a total disaster!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 21, 2016
— Rod Blackhurst (@rodblackhurst) March 15, 2017
Hypocrisy is one justifiable reason to document the trips and outings.
Another is his campaign promise: “I’m not going to have time to go play golf.”
And then there’s the cost to taxpayers
Besides security, hypocrisy, and broken promises, those visits, especially the out-of-state ones, cost bundles of taxpayer money.
The Mar-a-Lago trips impose huge costs on Florida businesses and taxpayers. In February, CBS Miami reported overtime costs for the sheriff’s office at $1.5 million.
According to analysis by Politico, a trip to Mar-a-Lago costs you and me $3 million a pop.
This isn’t chump change:
Trump is on track to spend $1 billion in 4 years housing his wife in NYC and vacationing in Mar-a-Lago virtually every week.
— Bruce Bartlett (@BruceBartlett) March 17, 2017
How many trips has he made to Florida? A lot.
Trump’s presidency was 1,060 hours old and he had spent approximately 241¾ of those hours in Florida — or 22.8 percent of his time in office. Palm Beach County is already seeking $1.7 million in extra security costs incurred by his visits.
This WaPo analysis from March 17 provides an illustrated view of his visits to his own properties:
An updated illustration on March 26 documents all visits to
- Mar-a-Lago, Palm Beach, Florida
- Trump International Golf Club, West Palm Beach, Florida
- Trump International Hotel, Washington, D.C.
- Trump National Golf Club, Potomac Falls, Virginia
And the Secret Service has to pay Trump’s clubs to rent golf carts.
The Secret Service has spent $16k so far on golf cart rentals for Trump trips to Mar-a-Lago. pic.twitter.com/Pgje6S1LBh
— Nathaniel Meyersohn (@nmeyersohn) March 26, 2017
Finally, zippo transparency
My latest pool report:
– No clue what Trump has done for last three hours despite multiple requests.
– Picking up tips at tennis palace. pic.twitter.com/nWbCOUw184
— Adrian Carrasquillo (@Carrasquillo) March 25, 2017
One difference between Trump and Obama’s presidency on matters of the green: transparency.
Obama did not golf with world leaders or members of Congress on a regular or even semiregular basis, preferring to surround himself with close friends, pro athletes and celebrities or White House aides. But the Obama White House regularly disclosed to the press corps when the president was playing golf, on weekends and even on vacation.
Trump’s aides have not done so.
Which is the worst sin?
Featured image: Pinterest/Trump