As expected, despite all of the standards that he holds others to, Donald Trump feels no need to abide by them himself. People across the country bore witness to Trump’s never-ending criticisms about President Barack Obama’s golf habit, and the occasional family vacation — but now that he’s in the Oval Office, the man is hardly ever not on vacation.
Of the last five weekends, Donald Trump has spent four at the “Winter White House,” his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida. Besides this demonstrating how little he is truly working for the betterment of the country, it also comes at a tremendous cost to taxpayers.
According to recent cost estimate by PBSO released Tuesday, four trips to Mar-a-Lago, pretending that only President Donald Trump was there and was the only one requiring help — which we’ve seen to be untrue, and not including any over-time costs whatsoever — have cost roughly half a million dollars: $570,000 to be more precise.
On top of these costs, the county responsible for the airport, the club and everything in between, has dolled out over $1.4 million due to the president’s frequent visits, according to Sherriff Ric Bradshaw. These costs were accumulated as a result of having to improve and maintain roadways meticulously, and providing additional security staff. They further identified that they have to shut down the airport when Trump is arriving and leaving, which becomes highly burdensome given he is there essentially every weekend.
As a result of this funding and a lack of response from the Trump administration on whether or not they’ll be reimbursed, Palm Beach County Commissioner Dave Kerner is advocating for a “municipal service benefit unit.” This would permit some form of repayment for the expenses incurred as a result of hosting the president or other major politicians.
Allegedly, the County Commissioner Mary Lou Berger alongside Bradshaw and the Assistant County Administrator, Todd Bonlarron, had a conference call recently with a variety of national departments and agencies to plead for reimbursement. However, the representatives from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Secret Service, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency “were polite, but that’s where they stopped.”
‘I was very firm and to the point that we expected this money to be reimbursed, that it shouldn’t be this difficult for them to figure out.’
But that despite this:
‘[We] did not get a lot of encouragement.’
Adding to this, the local airport was trying to advocate that due to the frequency of Donald Trump’s trips, perhaps something other than a total shut down of the airport could be arranged. But it was said that conversation went even worse than those pertaining to reimbursement. The airport representatives and local county representatives also advocating on their behalves, report:
‘They said, “This isn’t a negotiation. Let me tell you why it’s going to be this way. The Lantana airport will be shut down any time the president is in town.”‘
At the base of the issue is the simple fact that many of these departments just “don’t have a line item in the budget that represents reimbursement to local governments.”
Unfortunately, the county cannot just stop providing the assistance, in order to get Washington to pay up. As Bradshaw explained:
‘I cannot just tell the Secret Service or someone else that’s coming who could be in danger that I’m not going to provide the protection. It’s a danger to the public. I can’t allow the roadways to become clogged and dysfunctional. I have a responsibility to you, the public, to make sure this thing is handled correctly.’
This puts the county in an absolutely horrible position. One which may inflict profoundly negative impacts in terms of the local economy and inhibit the local government to be able to afford the standard operating and maintenance costs of the county.
They claim rightfully that they are not at all trying to be unreasonable. They cite that they understand that “the president’s safety is paramount,” but feel they’ve “bent over backwards.” Kerner, one of those county advocates perhaps highlights the injustice best when he said:
‘We’re getting to the point where he’s governing from here… It has been devastating. It is going to be devastating.’
Unfortunately, this is just one more case where Donald Trump does what Donald Trump wants and pays absolutely no mind to the ‘little guys’ that he stomps on to get his own way, and reap his own benefits.
Feature Image via Getty Images/Joe Raedle.