Society

Quarter Of Trump Presidency Spent At Mar-A-Lago

| by Robert Fowler

As President Donald Trump is set to spend Easter weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, the excursion will add three more days to the Commander-in-Chief's roughly three weeks at the private club during his nearly three months in office.

On April 14, Trump boarded Air Force One and flew to Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida. His trip to the Trump Organization property will be the 23rd day that he has spent there during his first 84 days in office. Doing the math, this means that Trump has spent over a quarter of his young presidency at Mar-a-Lago, The Hill reports.

Senior editor Bradd Jaffy of NBC News noted on social media that the president began his Easter trip to Mar-a-Lago with a round of golf.

"President Trump is again at Trump International Golf club in FL, per pool," Jaffy tweeted out. "It is his 17th golf course trip since taking office 12 weeks ago."

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Trump's frequent trips to Mar-a-Lago has triggered intense scrutiny from critics and ethics watchdog groups. Professor Steven Schooner of George Washington Law School is particularly disturbed that Trump has been vacationing and conducting official business at a resort he privately owns.

"It's just another example of his consistent efforts to exploit public office for private gain," Schooner 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."

The ethics expert added that he could not "think of anything like this that we've seen at anytime in the modern era."

While Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton asserts that Trump should find a less expensive location for his weekend getaways, he believes that the president's frequent trips to Mar-a-Lago does not mean that he is slacking on the job.

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"Whenever a president travels, he's doing work," Fitton said. The conservative watchdog added traveling to Mar-a-Lago is "probably a nice way to visit with leaders and get to know them and to do some important business with them. So it's not the end of the world that he hosts the president of China, or anyone else, down there."

The president has conducted foreign diplomacy during his time at the Palm Beach resort. He hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the club in March and Chinese President Xi Jinping April 6-7.

Trump's weekly trips to Mar-a-Lago are in stark contrast to his rhetoric before assuming office, when he frequently blasted former President Barack Obama for his vacationing, The Washington Post reports.

"[Obama] played golf yesterday," Trump tweeted out in August 2011. "Now he heads to a 10 day vacation in Martha's Vineyard. Nice work ethic."

During the 2016 presidential race, Trump criticized former President Barack Obama for family vacations, asserting on the campaign trail that a president should not leave the White House.

"If you're in the White House, who wants to take a vacation?" Trump said during a campaign rally in Iowa. "You're in the White House. What's better than the White House? Why these vacations?"

On April 11, CNN reported that Trump's 21 days spent at Mar-a-Lago during his first 80 days in office cost roughly $20 million. Judicial Watch estimated that Obama's vacationing during his entire eight years in office cost a total of $97 million.

This would mean that if Trump's trips to the Florida resort continue at the same frequency, the federal government would be on pace to spend more on the president's travel during his first year in office than it had during Obama's entire two terms.

Sources: CNNThe Hill, NBC News, The Washington Post / Photo Credit: Emilio Labrador/Flickr

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