President Donald Trump will take a 17-day vacation from Washington in August.
The president will leave the White House on Aug. 4 to go to his private golf club in New Jersey, where he is expected to stay for 17 days during his first extended vacation since his inauguration, Daily Mail reports.
On July 19, the president said that members of Congress should stay in Washington to work on health care legislation: "Frankly, I don’t think we should leave town unless we have a health insurance plan, unless we can give our people great health care. Because we’re close. We’re very close."
The Republican-controlled Congress has not been able to pass a health care bill. When asked for comment on whether Trump would be on vacation during August, White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders gave a noncommittal answer: "We'll continue to keep you guys updated on his August schedule as those details are finalized."
Trump has previously spent numerous weekends on his properties such as the Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, according to Vogue. In April, it was reported that he had spent six out of 12 of his weekends as president at the private club, which he has called the "Southern White House." As of August, Trump was reported to have spent 13 of his 28 weekends as president outside of the White House, mainly at Trump properties.
Trump's trips to Mar-a-Lago reportedly cost taxpayers more than $20 million in his first 80 days, a rate that was reported to put Trump's first year of travel expenses on pace to pass the cost of Barack Obama's travel over the full eight years of his two terms.
Trump previously blasted former president Barack Obama for taking vacations, tweeting in 2011: "Barack Obama played golf yesterday. Now he heads to a 10 day vacation in Martha's Vineyard. Nice work ethic."
During his presidential campaign, Trump said he would "not be a president who took vacations."
"I would rarely leave the White House because there's so much work to be done," said Trump in 2015. "I would not be a president that takes time off."
During Trump's vacation, repairs will be made to the West Wing's heating and cooling system, as well as to steps on the White House's South Portico, which faces the National Mall. There will also be fixes to water leaks, as well as new carpets, curtains and paint for the building, which Trump has reportedly referred to as a "dump."
Journalist Alan Shipnuck told Golf Magazine that eight or nine people heard the president refer to the White House as a "dump," according to The Hill.
Trump has denied the story, calling it "totally untrue" and tweeting: "I love the White House, one of the most beautiful buildings (homes) I have ever seen."
Shipnuck said he was contacted by a White House spokeswoman who demanded a retraction, which he declined to provide.
"It might be inconvenient for her boss and she might wish he didn’t say it, but it's not a lie," said Shipnuck.