The cost of presidential travel is something that will always be high, primarily due to the simple fact that so much security is required. It’s also the source of much controversy, with members of the opposing party inevitably issuing complaints about what they believe to be is a wasteful use of taxpayer money.
In the case of Donald Trump, his travels within the first three months of his administration raised plenty of eyebrows. The chief reason stemmed from the fact that he was on pace to spend more in that department during his first year in office than the amount used to transport his predecessor, Barack Obama, during his eight years as President.
Judicial Review looked into the costs and found that in Trump’s first 80 days in office, $21.6 million was spent to transport him, primarily to his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, where he had spent a total of 21 days. In comparison, Obama’s costs totaled almost $97 million for eight years worth of travel that included both work-related and personal concerns.
The cost estimates regarding the trips to Mar-a-Lago were based on a four-day trip in 2013 that Obama had to taken to Florida, with the bulk of the expense related to security provided by both the Coast Guard and Secret Service. That particular financial data was part of a 2016 report from the Government Accountability Office, which has the task of keeping track of government expenses.
Trump’s trips came during the winter months, with warmer weather somewhat changing his travel destinations. During the summer months, Trump is making trips to his Bedminster Township, New Jersey-based golf club, with side trips to Trump Tower in New York City also likely to occur.
Critics of Trump, almost exclusively from the Democratic side of the political spectrum, have pointed out that Republicans have largely been silent on the costs involved with Trump’s travels. Those critics have cited numerous statements made by GOP politicians about then-President Obama spending the Christmas holidays in Hawaii and their often-exaggerated actual costs of his foreign trips.
One of the key reasons why Trump’s travel costs have struck such a nerve with those critics is his apparent hypocrisy on social media during the time Obama was in office. One example came in 2011, when he used Twitter to rail about the alleged $4 million cost to taxpayers while also incorrectly citing a 20 percent unemployment rate.