How one of Trump’s signature broken promises cost US taxpayers 255 times his annual donated salary
Donald Trump’s golf outings have cost U.S. taxpayers $102 million in expenses — which, according to HuffPost, is “255 times the annual presidential salary he volunteered not to take.”
The figure represents millions in “extra travel and security expenses,” according to HuffPost, and will increase by more than $100,000 next month when he visits his resort in Doonbeg, Ireland.
HuffPost conducted the analysis — which it described as “a conservative approach to determining costs”— based off a 2019 Government Accountability Office report on Trump’s presidential travel and secret service expenditures.
U.S. taxpayers have spent $81 million for the president’s two dozen trips to Florida, according to a HuffPost analysis. They spent $17 million for his 15 trips to New Jersey, another $1 million so he could visit his resort in Los Angeles and at least $3 million for his two days in Scotland last summer ― $1.3 million of which went just for rental cars for the massive entourage that accompanies a president abroad.
“It’s obviously an incredible waste of money,” Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, told HuffPost, adding, “of course, the more time he spends golfing, the less time he spends governing, the better.”
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump famously promised he’s “not going to have time to golf” as president while bashing Barack Obama every time the former president teed up.
“If I were in the White House, I don’t think I’d ever see Turnberry again,” Trump said in a February 2016 news conference. “I don’t think I’d ever see Doral again … I don’t even think I’d see anything, I just want to stay in the White House and work my ass off.”
Further, according to SBNation, between 2011 and 2016, Trump complained on Twitter 27 times about Obama’s golf habit.
We pay for Obama's travel so he can fundraise millions so Democrats can run on lies. Then we pay for his golf.— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1413315327.0
Yet, as of May 19, 2019, Trump has reportedly played golf at one of his 17 golf courses or elsewhere at least 188 times, according to Golf News Net.
If Trump is to believed, golf “if he primary form of exercise,” and he hits the links between high-stakes meetings with foreign leaders.
I have arrived in Scotland and will be at Trump Turnberry for two days of meetings, calls and hopefully, some golf… https://t.co/AQ6KziSn0D— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1531561384.0
But, Jordan Libowitz of the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) sees it differently.
“His top priority with these trips is not the business of the American people, it’s the business of the Trump Organization,” Libowitz told HuffPo. “The American presidency has become another tool to advertise his golf properties.”