Politics

Trump’s early trips to Mar-a-Lago cost nearly $14 million: Watchdog report


President Donald Trump‘s four trips to his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida over four weeks in March and February 2017, including his summit with the Japanese prime minister, cost the government nearly $14 million, according to the results of a nonpartisan government watchdog’s investigation obtained by ABC News.

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The accounting provides one of the clearest pictures to date of the costs incurred by the government for the president’s travel to his properties.

The report, from the Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan watchdog that works as an investigative arm of Congress, also found that the U.S. Secret Service spent $396,000 protecting the president’s sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, on three international trips in early 2017.

PHOTO: President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hold a news conference at Mar-a-Lago resort on April 18, 2018 in West Palm Beach, Fla.Joe Raedle/Getty Images
President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hold a news conference at Mar-a-Lago resort on April 18, 2018 in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Eric Trump traveled to Uruguay and the Dominican Republic on Trump Organization business, while both brothers and their spouses traveled to the United Arab Emirates. According to the report, both the Trumps and their Secret Service details flew commercial on all three trips.

Of the $13.6 million spent by the government on Trump’s four trips to Florida, $10.6 million was spent on government aircraft and boats, while another $3 million was spent on transporting, lodging and feeding government personnel associated with the trips, according to the GAO.

One of those trips, among the first Trump took to his Palm Beach club as commander in chief, included President Trump’s summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Democrats on Capitol Hill have raised concerns about the president’s club, saying it illustrates some of the potential ethical and security concerns surrounding Trump due to his decision not to divest from his family business as president.

ABC News has reached out to the White House for comment. In the past, the White House has defended the cost of Trump’s travel as president by arguing that he works on his weekend trips to properties in Florida and New Jersey.

“The bottom line is the president is the president no matter where he goes, and he doesn’t get to control the level of costs and security that may come along with that,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters in May 2017 when asked about Trump’s weekend travel.

The cost and frequency of Trump’s weekend travel have outpaced his predecessors, although the costs of those trips have been difficult to assess.



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