"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").
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 18, 2017
A working dinner tonight with Prime Minister Abe of Japan, and his representatives, at the Winter White House (Mar-a-Lago). Very good talks!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 11, 2017
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):
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2011
President @BarackObama's vacation is costing taxpayers millions of dollars----Unbelievable!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 5, 2012
Michelle Obama's weekend ski trip to
Aspen makes it 16 times that Obamas have gone on vacation in 3 years. (cont) http://t.co/2SXcBxrJ
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 21, 2012
The Obama's Spain vacation cost taxpayers over $476K http://t.co/W6kIpd5x They love to spend money.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 27, 2012
When will Obama next go on vacation if he wins the election? The day after.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 12, 2012
Secret Service members on break from Obama’s $4M vacation are more than welcomed to relax at Hawaii’s top hotel @TrumpWaikiki.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 20, 2013
Pres. Obama is about to embark on a 17 day vacation in his ‘native’ Hawaii, putting Secret Service away from families on Christmas. Aloha!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2013
It's Jan. 2. President Obama should end his vacation early & get back to Washington to straighten out the ObamaCare catastrophe--or end it.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2014
Obama is on yet another two-day West Coast fundraising swing. Has to fit it in before his 15 day tax-payer funded vacation.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 24, 2014
Obama’s motto: If I don’t go on tax payer funded vacations & constantly fundraise then the terrorists win.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 25, 2014
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."