Melania Trump has stayed largely out of the limelight since her husband took office and she assumed her role as first lady, making only an occasional public statement and making it clear when she does that she supports her husband.
She has not yet come up with any broad action plans to address issues of concern to her, issues she’s identified to include childhood bullying, something that’s ironic considering the bullying her husband routinely carries out on Twitter.
Michelle Obama, of course, did come up with such action plans, addressing both childhood obesity and children’s education, so it remains to be seen whether Melania lives up to the standard established for the position of first lady by her predecessor or charts an entirely different path.
In the meantime, though, there’s a new way to compare the two first ladies — the costs they’ve incurred in the course of their traveling.
Melania Trump, along with her and Donald’s young son Barron, stayed behind in New York City after the most recent inauguration to allow Barron to finish out his school year.
Now, a report from the Wall Street Journal has revealed the travel costs that the first lady incurred during that time.
According to the publication, military flights that Melania took between her husband’s inauguration and April of last year cost over $675,000, a stunning level of costs to be incurred by the first family that has paraded into office on a platform of sticking up for the “forgotten” people of the U.S.
None of the “forgotten” people have the means to spend that much on travel, but here the first lady is doing exactly that.
Stephanie Grisham, who serves as a spokeswoman for the first lady, downplayed the significance of the size of the sum, saying:
‘The trips mentioned in this story are examples of Mrs. Trump juggling dual roles — putting her son first while also fulfilling some of her duties as First Lady.’
The military itself also sought to ease concerns over the massive costs. Air Force spokeswoman Erika A. Yepsen commented that the Air Force “diligently to ensure it acts as a good steward of taxpayers’ money while meeting the requirements of every mission it’s assigned regardless of where the mission occurs, what the mission is or who the mission supports.”
Melania apparently took 21 flights between New York City, Washington D.C., and Palm Beach during the period examined by the Journal. Adding to the costs of the trips is the fact that the military had to make 27 passenger-less flights to accommodate the first lady.
For comparative purposes, the Journal reports that Michelle Obama’s travel cost an average of approximately $350,000 a year — meaning that just in the first few months of 2017, Melania racked up costs of more than double the yearly average of her predecessor.
Melania isn’t alone among the Trumps to do such a thing.
Her husband has taken a wild amount of golf trips, making it seem as though he thinks of the presidency as a five day a week job. He’s spent, according to NBC, about one-fourth of his presidency at a golf property branded with his name.
During these trips, Trump set off on a spending pace potentially incurring costs in just his first couple years that are equal to the travel costs incurred by Obama during his entire time in office.
All of this is, of course, deeply ironic considering the fact that Trump loudly criticized Obama while the latter was still in office for supposedly taking too much time off.
Featured image via Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images