President Donald Trump will return to his Mar-a-Lago estate this Friday, marking the fourth time he will have visited his “weekend White House” since his inauguration a little over a month ago.
For a man who once knocked former President Barack Obama as a “habitual vacationer” who played fast and loose with taxpayer dollars, Trump certainly seems to be making a habit of costly weekend getaways.
A recent Washington Post investigation estimated that the three weekends Trump has already spent at his Palm Beach resort have cost taxpayers $10 million dollars. At this rate, the Post said, Trump’s travel and security costs could reach hundreds of millions of dollars by the end of his four-year term.
Contributing to that estimate is the approximately $500,000 a day it costs to guard Trump’s wife, First Lady Melania Trump, in Trump Tower in New York City, where she has said she will remain with their son, Barron, 10, at least until he finishes the school year. According to police officials’ estimates reported by the Post, that amount could total $183 million a year.
The Post reported that the cost of the new first family’s elaborate lifestyle is “far beyond what has been typical for past presidents,” noting that the conservative group Judicial Watch estimated that Obama-related travel expenses totaled nearly $97 million over eight years.
In addition to repeatedly criticizing Obama for taking vacations during his eight years in office, Trump also frequently called out the former president on Twitter for spending too much time on the golf course.
Trump trotted out the criticism on the campaign trail as well, promising voters that if elected, “I’m going to be working for you, I’m not going to have time to go play golf.”
But since he was sworn in as president a little over a month ago on Jan. 20, Trump has visited his two golf courses near his Mar-a-Lago estate — Trump International Golf Course in West Palm Beach and Trump National Golf Course in Jupiter — six times, actually playing golf at least three of those times, according to Snopes.com.
The New York Times reported that “the White House goes to considerable lengths to keep Mr. Trump’s golf game away from scrutiny,” which the newspaper said included sequestering reporters to keep them from seeing the president playing golf.
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The president confirmed via Facebook that he played golf with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during his visit to the U.S. The New York Times reported that Trump actually played two rounds of golf with Abe: 18 holes at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida, and nine more at the President’s club in West Palm Beach. It was also confirmed that Trump played golf with pro golfer Rory McIlroy.
For the record, Snopes.com reported that Obama played more than 300 rounds of golf during his eight years in office. He played his first round as president in April 2009 — three months after he was inaugurated.