President Donald Trump continues to seem to treat the presidency like a five day a week job, even as investigations and security issues close in around him. This Friday, he again took off for a surprise weekend trip to his Mar-a-Lago resort, where while the government continues to grapple with his policy proposals like a border wall blocking off an entire country that will cost billions of dollars, he’ll be golfing, watching television, and tweeting — and, apparently, meeting with Caribbean leaders in between those activities, he claims.
Trump has cost the country tens of millions of dollars and counting with his frequent golf trips. In February, the Government Accountability Office released a report on the costs at the request of Congressional Democrats, outlining that early on in his presidency, average documented costs per trip to Florida come out to a whopping $3.4 million. That brings the cost of just four such trips across February and March of 2017 to a stunning $13.6 million.
The information is the very first official accounting of the costs of the president’s golf habit — previously, concerned citizens only had educated estimates to go on. There is no reason to believe that there was some dramatic drop-off in the cost of the president’s weekend getaways to Florida since early 2017. He’s spent more than ten percent of his presidency so far at Mar-a-Lago, and overall, he’s spent well over one-fourth of his time in office at a property branded with his own name, most of which are golf courses like the one near Mar-a-Lago.
It’s old news at this point, but the irony remains that Trump asserted prior to taking office that he wouldn’t take many vacations, and even lambasted Barack Obama for supposedly taking too much time off while in office. Trump’s travel rate has swamped Obama’s, and yet he wants us to take him seriously.
It’s not the only indication of his uniquely flippant approach to the presidency. Recently, an anonymous staffer leaked about three months worth of his schedules, which revealed that around 60 percent of the president’s scheduled days were devoted to “Executive Time” — whatever on earth that’s supposed to mean. Trump, of course, insists he’s done more than any other president in American history — which is a quote, not conjecture. The line got him laughs at the United Nations General Assembly, but his team is still using versions of it.
In reality, we can all see what Trump is doing. He continues to hinge his behavior and decisions on Twitter, where in recent days, he’s ranged from attacking Kellyanne Conway’s husband George as a “stone cold LOSER & husband from hell!” to touting a decision to further entrench his administration on the side of Israeli nationalism. Even Russian President Vladimir Putin said asserting Israeli control over the contested Golan Heights was a bad idea, and when he’s better at foreign policy than an American president, something is very off.
All of this continues to unfold while Trump faces unprecedented investigative efforts across the federal Justice Department, state authorities, and Congress, all struggling to deal with the weight of a long shady businessman taking up residence in the White House. Even his long defunct inaugural committee is facing three investigations!
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