BY CHRIS SOMMERFELDT, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
If he keeps up his current pace, President Trump will apparently spend more taxpayer money on traveling in one year than former President Barack Obama did throughout his eight years in office.
Trump’s frequent trips to his private Florida club, Mar-a-Lago, have already cost taxpayers more than $20 million since he took office on Jan. 20, according to estimations based on a 2016 Government Accountability Office report.
The revelation, first reported by CNN on Monday, stands in sharp contrast to Trump’s pledge to slash federal funding — and in even sharper contrast to his repeated criticisms of his predecessor’s travels.
“The habitual vacationer, @BarackObama, is now in Hawaii,” he tweeted on Dec. 27, 2011. “This vacation is costing taxpayers $4 million +++ while there is 20% unemployment.”
Obama spent a little less than $97 million on travels throughout his two presidential terms, according to a December 2016 report compiled by the conservative-leaning Judicial Watch group. Those figures include both official White House trips and personal travels, such as family vacations.
While it’s complex to calculate Trump’s exact travel costs so far, an estimate can be determined by comparing the cost of a four-day Florida trip Obama took in 2013 to Trump’s frequent Mar-a-Lago visits. Obama’s trip, which was similar in length and nature to Trump’s Florida visits, cost taxpayers $3.6 million.
As of Monday, Trump has spent a total of 21 days at Mar-a-Lago since becoming President. Based on the expense figure from Obama’s 2013 trip, Trump’s total travel costs therefore amount to roughly $21.6 million so far.
If he keeps up that pace for another nine months, Trump will easily surpass Obama’s $97 million mark.
Meanwhile, Trump’s federal budget proposes to slash spending by $54 billion. The cuts would severely impact the Environmental Protection Agency, the State Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The budget also proposes to completely eliminate federal funding for the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities.
Even though he harshly blasted Obama for occasionally playing golf while in office, Trump has on several occasions been spotted on the links during his mini-vacations to Florida. “Can you believe that, with all of the problems and difficulties facing the U.S., President Obama spent the day playing golf,” Trump tweeted on Oct. 13, 2014.