Donald Trump, who has spent nearly half his presidency on vacation or visiting a Trump property, has cost taxpayers more than $17 million so far for Secret Service protection, a figure that doesn’t include all of his trips during his two-years in office and is likely to go higher, easily outpacing the same costs for President Obama.
“Presidential travel is too expensive, and, in particular, taxpayers subsidize too much of the bill for presidential campaign travel,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, which has kept track of expenses for both administrations.
|Donald Trump’s Travel Costs|
Judicial Watch obtained the documents through a January 2018 Freedom of Information (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
• Bedminster, NJ golf club from June 30-July 3. Cost: $219,251.03 hotels, $119,543.03 on air/rail, $27,871 misc; Total: $398,727.24
• Bedminster from July 14-16: Cost: $206,627.47 hotels, $55,986.50 air/rail, $12,752.20 car rentals, $9,254 misc; Total: $284,620.17
• Trips to Bedminster and New York from August 4-21. Bedminster: Cost: $908,506.51 hotels, $20,528.68 rental cars, $14,371.11 air/rail, $2,300 on misc; Total: $945,706.30. New York: Cost: $486,365 hotels, $12,345.62 air/rail, $2,726.42 rental cars Total: $501,457.04
• Phoenix campaign rally, Aug 22. Cost: $131,189.41 hotels, $25,251.22 air/rail, $21,898 rental cars, Total: $178,338.63
• Missouri campaign rally, Aug. 30. Cost: $26,159.34 hotels, $13,921.17 air/rail, $2,740 car rentals, Total: $42,820.51
• Huntsville, AL, campaign trip for Sen. Luthur Strange, Sept 22; Cost: $22,701.06 hotels, $2,000 car rentals, $500 misc; Total: $25,201.06
• Bedminster, weekend of Sept. 24. Cost: $428,732 hotels, $3,055.20 air/rail, $65.70 rental cars, $16,420 misc, Total: $448,272.90
• Bedminster, Sept. 29 to Oct. 1: Cost: $171,391.68 hotels, $8,611.30 air/rail, $2,482.17 car rentals, $16,407.50 misc Total: $198,892.65
During his first 609 days in office, Trump has spent 200 days at Trump properties, which include Mar a Lago and Trump Tower in New York City, and 154 days at his golf properties, according to a running tally kept by NBCNews.
Trump has spent 42 days at his Trump International golf course in West Palm Beach, two days at the Trump National golf club in Jupiter, Fla, 40 days at his Trump National course in Potomac Falls, VA. and 67 days at Trump National golf course in Bedminster, NJ.
He’s also spent 72 days at Mar-a-Lago, 17 days at Trump International Hotel, in Washington, DC, eight days at Trump Tower and one day at Trump International Hotel in Waikiki.
The total bill, so far comes to $17,224,938.46, and expenses may not be included for all of his trips.
Judicial Watch, a conservative activist group and self-styled government watchdog, has been forced to sue the Department of Homeland Security twice, to get the information, even though it’s supposed to be public by law. Numerous Freedom of Information Act requests were ignored, the group says.
So far, the group has yet to received reports on 11 different Trump trips that include his two-week vacation to Mar-a-Lago last Christmas, his trip to the NCAA National Championship game in Atlanta, Ga., his Jan. 18 rally in Pittsburgh and five other Mar-a-Lago trips.
Trump also traveled to Pennsylvania on March 10 to campaign for GOP House candidate Rick Saccone, racking up taxpayer expenses for secret service protection that should be paid for by his campaign committee.
Trump also traveled to Michigan on April 28 to hold a rally in lieu of attending the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington, D.C.
The Secret Service records provide costs for meals, hotels, air/rail, car rentals and other incidentals incurred during personal travel by the president and his family.
“The Secret Service is a mess when it comes to transparency on its basic operations,” said Fitton. “President Trump would do well to reform and demand a better, less expensive way to move him around the country.”
The organization notes that it also had to sue to get travel expenses for President Obama and his family, after it failed to respond to 19 written requests for records.
The case ultimately made its way before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which admonished the Secret Service.
“[T]he Secret Service’s alleged practice of prolonged, repeated, and unexplained delay, if allowed to continue, would harm Judicial Watch’s mission to inform the public about the costs of VIP travel by unlawfully interfering with its statutory right to ‘promptly’ obtain non-exempt records upon request,” it ruled.
To date, Judicial Watch has uncovered total travel expenses of the Obamas amounting to $114,691,322.17, the group said.
Trump is being sued by state Attorneys General in Maryland and the District of Columbia for allegedly violating the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution. It prohibits the President and other high government officials from profiting from their positions in government.