Skip to content Skip to footer

Florida Vacations for the President; Budget Cuts for Everyone Else

When it comes to personal vacations, the president doesn’t seem interested in sparing any costs.

Donald Trump wants to take away federal dollars from public education, from feeding the hungry, from keeping the US healthy and clean, even from providing heating assistance that keeps people alive.

But when it comes to personal vacations, the president doesn’t seem interested in sparing any costs.

On March 17, Trump spent his fifth weekend at his Florida property Mar-a-Lago, and his seventh consecutive weekend at a Trump-branded property. Aside from questions regarding conflict of interest, this means that in the first seven weeks of his presidency, Trump spent just one weekend, the first, at the White House.

That’s about $16.5 million on trips to Mar-a-Lago alone. For the same amount of money, Meals on Wheels (which the Trump budget plans to eliminate) could feed 5,967 seniors a year and after-school programs could feed 114,583 children a year, reports ThinkProgress.

Seven Consecutive Weekends at a Trump-Branded Property

Here’s a brief overview: on February 4-5, Trump and his wife headed to Mar-a-Lago for a Red Cross ball that was closed to the public; the following weekend, Trump hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Mar-a-Lago (and dealt with a North Korea missile crisis in full view of diners at the club). Heading to Mar-a-Lago for the third consecutive weekend, on February 18, Trump played his sixth round of golf since becoming president.

On the weekend of February 25, Trump stayed in DC, but visited the Trump International hotel for dinner on Saturday night. Back to Mar-a-Lago on March 4, followed by a trip to the Trump National Golf Club in Virginia on the weekend of March 11, and finally the fifth trip to Mar-a-Lago on March 17.

He’s expected back soon. It’s been widely reported that Trump will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Weekend White House on April 6 and 7.

What Happened to Camp David?

What about Camp David? Apparently the Donald prefers his glitzy Florida resort to the presidential retreat in Maryland.

Even though it was good enough for Roosevelt to host Churchill there, and for a peace conference that produced one of the most crucial peace treaties of the 20th century, the master of Mar-a-Lago does not hide his disdain for the presidential retreat.

“Camp David is very rustic, it’s nice, you’d like it,” President Trump said in an interview last month with a European newspaper. “You know how long you’d like it? For about 30 minutes.”

Trump apparently is more interested in admiring his own amazing self than appreciating nature.

Even More Taxpayer Dollars Going to the Trump Family

Leaving aside all the conflicts of interest surrounding Trump’s business dealings, here are a few more numbers to send you into a rage. Three of the Trump children and their families vacationed in Aspen earlier this month, with their families, and about 100 Secret Service agents, at taxpayers’ expense, were there to protect them.

Now The Washington Post is reporting that the US Secret Service has requested $60 million in additional funding for the upcoming year, to pay for the escalating costs for travel and protection resulting from the complicated lifestyle of the Trump family.

Of this additional money, $26.8 million would go toward the protection of Trump’s family and private home in New York’s Trump Tower, with the remaining $33 million to be spent on travel costs incurred by “the president, vice president and other visiting heads of state.”

Republicans, along with Trump, used to decry how much President Obama spent on travel, but it turns out that the roughly $10 million that Trump has already spent on unnecessary travel in his first 50 days compares to the $12 million that Obama cost taxpayers in an entire year. But the Republicans are silent now.

Trump Lives the High Life: The Rest of Us Live in Austerity

Trump’s budget would eliminate meals for poor people and get rid of after-school programs. The US would also be dirtier, as he slashes the EPA budget by 31 percent, and unhealthier, as unchecked pollution can lead to health emergencies, chronic health problems and premature death.

As Care2′s Robin Marty wrote:“Trump has unveiled a budget that would slash or abolish programs that have provided low-income Americans with help on virtually all fronts, including affordable housing, banking, weatherizing homes, job training, paying home heating oil bills, and obtaining legal counsel in civil matters.”

The arts would be wiped out, with the extinction of the NEA and the NEH, along with before and after-school tutoring programs, an educator training programs in at-risk schools, need-based scholarships to college students, programs that help disabled and non-native English speakers to sharpen their skills, and PBS shows like “Sesame Street.”

In other words, Trump is attempting to use his power as president to grab power for the 1% while destroying the 99%.

Meanwhile Office of Budget and Management director Mick Mulvaney and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer are defending the cuts as “necessary” and the weekend vacations as “part of being president.”

“When you start looking at places that we reduce spending, one of the questions we asked was can we really continue to ask a coal miner in West Virginia or a single mom in Detroit to pay for these programs? The answer was no,” Mulvaney said Thursday morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “We can ask them to pay for defense, and we will, but we can’t ask them to continue to pay for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.”

Question to the Trump Administration

So I have a few questions too. Why should a poor family in Detroit pay for the president to go golfing?

Why is the guy washing dishes in Baton Rouge paying for the president’s Secret Service protection so that Melania can live comfortably in New York City?

Why should a single mother of three who’s working two jobs in Louisiana be denied health care so that the CEO of Aetna can get a tax break?

But the real question for the Trump administration is: “Do you have a heart?” “Did no one teach you to care about your neighbors?” “Do you know what empathy is?”

Ultimately Donald Trump sees the presidency as a way to line his overstuffed pockets and those of his Wall Street cronies.

The US has become Donald Trump’s piggybank.

Take Action!

If you are horrified by the way Trump is abusing his power, you can take action by signing and sharing the following Care2 petitions or by creating your own:

Join us in defending the truth before it’s too late

The future of independent journalism is uncertain, and the consequences of losing it are too grave to ignore. To ensure Truthout remains safe, strong, and free, we need to raise $34,000 in the next 72 hours. Every dollar raised goes directly toward the costs of producing news you can trust.

Please give what you can — because by supporting us with a tax-deductible donation, you’re not just preserving a source of news, you’re helping to safeguard what’s left of our democracy.