Keeping the U.S. President safe and comfortable is never cheap, and over the course of four years of a Donald Trump administration, American taxpayers may find themselves left with an even heftier bill than usual.
A recent investigation by the Washington Post estimates that since taking office, the President’s three trips to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida have already cost the federal treasury some $10 million. At this rate, the report says, travel and security for Trump and his family could run up a bill in the hundreds of millions of dollars by the end of his term.
That’s not normal. Citing a conservative-leaning watchdog group called Judicial Watch, which monitored expenses during the administration of former President Barack Obama and plans to continue their work with the new White House, the Post said Obama’s extracurricular travel and safety expenses likely amounted to about $97 million over eight years in office.
In the five weeks since his inauguration, the President has already spent three weekends at Mar-a-Lago, which he has begun referring to as the “Winter White House,” indicating that more is in store for the lavish private club situated on a beachfront property that was not designed with presidential security in mind. Some of the estimated $10 million spent on these three trips included paying for the Coast Guard to patrol the shoreline, according to the Post.
Local officials in Palm Beach County, where the estate is located, also reportedly plan to ask Washington to reimburse their expenditures on extra security and traffic management, which could amount to tens of thousands of dollars so far. The county has already spent about $60,000 a day in overtime police payments, Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw told the Post.
In New York, where First Lady Melania Trump has chosen to live with the couple’s school-aged son, the city pays roughly $500,000 each day to secure Trump Tower. This estimate, provided by police officials, could end up totaling about $183 million per year. Security for Trump’s extended family is also expected to run up a hefty tab.
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Trump’s two sons, Eric and Donald Jr., have spent the past few weeks traveling the globe in their new capacity as the managers of their father’s business empire. Since the inauguration, the pair have visited the Dominican Republic to discuss property developments and the United Arab Emirates for the opening of a new Trump-brand golf resort. Next week, they will travel to Vancouver to christen a new Trump Tower.
Trump’s adult sons travel with Secret Service security details, sometimes stacking up bills as high as $100,000, according to records and purchase orders obtained by the Post. The report points out that, despite the President’s incomplete divestment—by handing over management to his sons but retaining his ownership rights—not only will taxpayers be footing the bill for an expansive security apparatus, but these visits are actually turning a profit for the Trump family business.
According to the Post, the departments of Defense and Homeland Security, which bear most of the costs, did not reply to the paper’s request for detailed data on expenses.