Politics

Trump Flies To Mar-a-Lago In Separate Plane From Family

| by Jonathan Constante

President Donald Trump took a different plane than his family to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida for the Easter holidays.

Trump boarded Air Force One at the Joint Base Andrews in Maryland outside of Washington, D.C., on April 13 without the company of the first lady or their children, the Daily Mail reported. White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus was with the president before he boarded the jet alone.

Melania Trump arrived at Palm Beach International Airport later on a separate Air Force plane. She was accompanied by Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Tiffany Trump, and Barron Trump.

The first family will attend Easter service at the Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea, WFOR reported. It is the same church in which Trump and Melania were married in 2005.

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Although Trump received a warm welcome from supporters at the airport and again outside of his Mar-a-Lago estate, several critics have blasted the president for his frequent trips to the place now dubbed as the Winter White House.

Trump will have spent more than a quarter of his presidency at his Mar-a-Lago resort by the end of Easter. The trips are costing taxpayers at least $1 million per trip, NBC reported. That price could jump as high as $3 million.

According to the news network, 28 percent of his time has been associated with his Mar-a-Lago estate between Jan. 20 and April 16. The assessment included the Easter weekend trip.

Ethics experts argue that Trump is using his presidency as an opportunity to create exposure for the Mar-a-Lago resort, which charges membership fees of up to $200,000.

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"It's just another example of his consistent efforts to exploit public office for private gain," Steve Schooner, an ethics expert, told NBC News. "He's using his official office and the fact that people have to travel with him, meet him, and follow him to promote his commercial enterprise, in this case his privately owned club."

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has previously defended the president's frequent trips to Florida, saying that Mar-a-Lago "is where [Trump] goes to see his family."

"He brings people down there," Spicer said. "This is part of being president."

Trump has also drawn criticism for spending a lot of time on the golf course. He has made 16 visits to his own golf courses since becoming president, CNN reported.

"You know what -- and I love golf -- but if I were in the White House, I don't think I'd ever see Turnberry [in Scotland] again," Trump said during his campaign last year, according to CNN. "I don't think I'd ever see Doral again -- I own Doral, in Miami. I don't think I'd ever see many of the places that I have."

"I don't ever think that I'd see anything," Trump continued. "I just wanna stay in the White House and work my ass off, make great deals, right? Who's gonna leave? I mean, who's gonna leave?"

Sources: Daily Mail, WFOR, NBC, CNN (2) / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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