President Donald Trump’s interests as president continue to rest with — wait for it — Donald Trump. POLITICO has now revealed yet another occasion on which government funds went into a Trump business and quite literally, he profited from the presidency while in office, which openly flouts a Constitutional clause prohibiting the president from obtaining any federal money besides their salary while in office. On an August 2017 hunting trip that Donald Trump Jr. took to the Vancouver, Canada, area, the Secret Service spent more at the Trump-branded hotel in Vancouver than at any other establishment, according to the publication. Their expenses there added up to $5,700 alongside $8,500 spent at other local hotels and $2,300 in undisclosed expenses.
The House Oversight Committee’s Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) bluntly shared:
‘The presidency should not be a money-making operation. The president is directing his subordinates in the executive branch of government… to stay at Trump properties.’
Indeed — although comparatively, the Secret Service payments to the Trump Vancouver property are small and constitute more of a padded envelope favor than anything, that’s far from the only occasion on which government money has gone into Trump properties through similar means. On more than 250 days since Donald Trump took office as president of the United States, he has visited a property branded with his own name, spending the some of the most time at his Florida Mar-a-Lago resort and New Jersey golf course. Although there is no systematic public tracking of these expenses, on these trips, the president has obviously been accompanied by government protection — and the people responsible for that have to sleep somewhere!
As of April 2018 — more than a year ago at this point — the Secret Service had been documented to have spent some $64,090 at Trump properties since 2015, when as a presidential candidate, Donald Trump would have first warranted protection. As an apparent part of that total bill, in early 2017, Secret Service accompanied Trump Jr. along with the president’s other children Eric and Tiffany to the grand opening of that Vancouver hotel, where they spent some $20,000.
That doesn’t even cover the massive expenses that Trump’s time in office has incurred the government overall. Already, he has incurred expenses of about $105 million in taxpayer dollars just for his golf trips. According to one analysis recently published in Forbes, the president could cost taxpayers $340 million just in money used for his golf trips if he’s re-elected and continues at about the same rate for the following four years of his presidency. These numbers are wildly higher than the travel costs that Barack Obama incurred while he was in office for eight years, although Trump spent a great deal of time during the campaign criticizing the then-incumbent’s travel habits.
House Democrats have attempted to get a handle on the president’s financial situation in part via accessing his tax returns, although so far, the administration has refused to comply with a duly filed, legal request for the documents from the House Ways and Means Committee. Democrats have since taken the administration to court over that and other issues.
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