The White House has come to the defense of President Donald Trump as questions mount over his frequent and expensive trips to Mar-a-Lago, his luxurious private golf resort in Palm Beach, Florida.
Asked during Monday’s White House briefing whether the President would consider reducing his weekend trips to save taxpayer money, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that “presidents always travel,” adding that “the President will continue to go and travel around the country and have meetings to solve the nation’s problems,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
Spicer also suggested that “just because he heads there” doesn’t mean that Trump is necessarily golfing at the resort.
As a private citizen, Trump frequently criticized former President Obama for taking time off to golf. Obama took his first golfing trip four months into his administration, while Trump went to Mar-a-Lago, which he calls his “Winter White House,” on his second weekend in office.
Based on a government report on a visit Obama took to West Palm Beach in 2013, the cost of Trump’s weekend trips is around $3 million each time. The Washington Post reports that the funds from just two such trips would pay for the Interagency Council on Homelessness for one year—an agency that is facing the chop in Trump’s budget proposal. A blueprint for the Trump administration’s first budget, released last week, would slash funding for, or eradicating entirely, a number of social and research programs.