Trump To Spend Weekend At Mar-A-Lago For 5th Time Since Inauguration

Andrew Harnik/AP
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President Donald Trump is scheduled to travel Friday to his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, in what will be the fifth weekend he’s spent at the property since he took office in January.

“On Friday the President will travel to Mar-a-Lago for the weekend,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters during his daily briefing on Monday.

Trump has visited Mar-a-Lago at least eight times since his unexpected election win, according to transition and White House pool reports, and four of those visits have taken place since his inauguration.

In tweets, Trump has dubbed his estate “the Winter White House.” He spent the holidays at the private club and hosted Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe there (and “personally” paid the tab for Abe’s stay “as a gift”).

Members of the club got front-row seats to a presidential crisis response in February, when in the middle of Mar-a-Lago’s dining area Trump and Abe decided how to handle breaking news that North Korea had test-fired a ballistic missile.

Long before he ran for office, Trump habitually criticized President Barack Obama’s vacation habits (and apparently sought the business of Obama’s Secret Service detail at his Trump Waikiki property in Hawaii):

Trump visited Mar-a-Lago three weekends in a row within his first month as President.

Aside from concerns about the club’s security, a reported twofold increase in its membership fee and the appropriateness of holding strategy discussions in full view of its members, Trump’s weekend retreats to his estate come with a hefty price tag.

According to a report by the Palm Beach Post, Trump’s five-day stay at Mar-a-Lago in November 2016 resulted in $248,000 in overtime costs at the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. NPR reported that as of Feb. 17, the police overtime cost for Palm Beach County had reached $1.5 million.

Politico estimated in February that Trump’s first visit to Mar-a-Lago as president could cost taxpayers more than $3 million.

One post-inauguration trip to Mar-a-Lago in February cost airports in Palm Beach County nearly $250,000.

And the Washington Post estimated in February that three of Trump’s trips to Mar-a-Lago after the inauguration had “probably cost the federal treasury about $10 million.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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