How is Donald Trump going to spend Thanksgiving? He will be hanging out with adoring fans and costing taxpayers a huge chunk of money.
The first family left for Palm Beach aboard Air Force One Tuesday afternoon. They arrived amid cheers, and Trump signed autographs before heading out to what he has dubbed “The Winter White House.”
Not all of the people who stood beside the street as the motorcade rode past were as happy. One sign read, “Get off my lawn.” Others held signs saying, “Welcome home President Trump.”
Democratic Representative Ted Deutch of South Florida is responsible for the district next to Mar-a-Lago. POLITICO reported that he said:
‘I certainly do not think anyone should expect this is now just a regular line item in the budget. This is going to have to be fought for.’
Any members who want to rub shoulders with the president this Thanksgiving have to follow some rules. They can only bring two guests per person and only if they made reservations for the lavish Thanksgiving buffet two weeks in advance.
Guests have to endure Secret Service checkpoints and spend 10 to 20 minutes making it through security. If they forgot their photo ID, too bad. They will not be able to get inside.
According to POLITICO, Secret Service will confiscate all of these items:
‘Pocket knives, laser pointers, pepper spray, and any other items deemed to be a safety hazard are not permitted on property. Any items surrendered will not be returned.’
The Palm Beach Post reported that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s good friend, Roman Abramovich, had parked his 533-foot yacht for the holiday.
Of course, the traffic along the airport route and Trump’s West Palm Beach golf club are a nightmare when Trump is in town.
One longtime member of Mar-a-Lago commented:
‘We plan not to be there when he’s there. When he’s there, it’s a mess.’
It costs twice as much to join Mar-a-Lago, $200,000 than it did before Trump became president. Plus, annual dues went up $1,000 to $15,000.
In a financial disclosure form that Trump gave the Office of Government Ethics, he made $37 million off of the resort in 2016. He only made $16 million in 2014.
Every day that Trump is on site costs the local county police $70,000. So far, they have spent $3.5 million for overtime expenses manning checkpoints and making certain the streets are secure. They are still waiting for their repayment.
Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said:
‘It’s like living next to the railroad tracks. After a while, you don’t hear the trains.’
Flying Air Force One costs about $200,000 an hour to fly, according to Fortune. Then, there was the expense of flying the presidential limousine or SUV to Mar-a-Lago.
According to Newsweek, Trump’s trips to Mar-A-Lago cost:
- Total cost for security in Palm Beach: $3.7 million
- Round-trip flights from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland to West Palm,
- Overtime for local law enforcement during Trump’s trips:
- Total golf cart rentals ordered by the Secret Service “for POTUS
- Loss to business due to airport closure: -$30,000/weekend
CEO of Newsmax Chris Ruddy is a member of Mar-a-Lago and has known Trump for almost two decades. POLITICO reported:
‘The president thrives on the interactions he has with guests, friends and members, and I’d be surprised if that didn’t continue in some way.’
Trump asked one of the founding club members, Robin Bernstein, to be his U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic. The man is also president of a Palm Beach life and health insurance corporation.
The president has entertained world leaders at Mar-a-Lago including the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan and President Xi Jinping of China.
The Trumpettes is a group of women members of the club. They put on the “Red, White, and Blue Celebration” in January to honor the president’s inauguration. The price of entry was $300.
Toni Holt Kramer organized the event and said:
‘My money and my heart are staying at Mar-a-Lago.’
Featured Image via Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla.