Trump family's elaborate lifestyle burdens US taxpayers

Trump?s frequent travel opposes his criticism of Obama as a 'habitual vacationer' enjoying taxpayer-funded golf getaways. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Feb 21, 2017, 11.41 AM (IST)

The unusually elaborate lifestyle of America’s new first family is straining the US Secret Service and security officials, stirring financial and logistical concerns in several local communities, and costing far more than past presidents, with only a month into the Trump presidency.

On Monday, President Donald Trump returned to Washington from his private Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, where he spent his last three weekends for a working getaway.

These three trips to Mar-a-Lago have cost the federal treasury approximately $10 million, based on figures used in an October government report analysing White House travel, including money for coast guard units to patrol the exposed shoreline and other military, security and staffing expenses associated with moving the apparatus of the presidency, the Washington Post reported.

As a result, the bills have racked up outside the club. Palm Beach County Sheriff, Ric Bradshaw said Trump’s 25 days in the county since the election have cost local taxpayers about $60,000 a day in overtime police payments.

According to The Hill, Trump’s decision to spend three consecutive weekends at his “southern White House” stands in contrast to what he promised during the election campaign -- that he would rarely leave the White House because there would be a lot of work to be done.

The three Mar-a-Lago getaways, combined with his adult sons’ two international trips with their Secret Service protection to promote their father’s business cost taxpayers about $11.3 million over the first month of Trump’s presidency. President Obama, by contrast, spent an average of $12.1 million on travel each year, the Washington Post reported.

Trump’s frequent travel opposes his criticism of Obama as a “habitual vacationer” enjoying taxpayer-funded golf getaways.

As the First Lady Melania Trump has decided to continue living in New York City, the New York police estimate the annual cost of guarding Trump Tower could be as high as $183 million.

The Defense Department and Secret Service is forced to rent space in Trump Tower at a taxpayer cost estimated to be $1.5 million annually to have constant access to the commander-in-chief.

Meanwhile on Sunday, Trump, who repeatedly criticised Obama for playing golf while president, enjoyed his sixth golf outing in Florida during his first month as president.

This month, Secret Service and US Embassy staffers paid nearly $100,000 in hotel room bills to support Eric Trump’s trip to promote a Trump-brand condo tower in Uruguay, The Post reported.

Agents are now tasked with guarding multiple homes and protecting Trump’s four adult children, including the globe-trotting sons running the family business and daughter Ivanka, whose family recently moved into a Northwest Washington neighbourhood, the Washington Post reported.

In advance of Trump’s Super Bowl weekend trip to Mar-a-Lago, the Secret Service paid for a bevvy of security costs, including more than $12,000 for tents, portable toilets, light towers and golf carts, purchase orders show.

A report by Washington Post states that the overseas travel by Trump’s adult sons is adding to the burden on taxpayers.

While Trump spent millions of taxpayer dollars on travel during his first month in office, his team put together a budget proposal that would cut cultural institutions and important services for poor people.

The proposal would eliminate “longstanding conservative targets like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Legal Services Corporation, AmeriCorps and the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities,” the New York Times reported. 

“Most of the programs cost under $500 million annually, a pittance for a government that is projected to spend about $4 trillion this year,” it adds.