Wednesday 22nd November, 2017
48 ℉ | 61 ℉ Washington

FLORIDA, U.S. - This week, a lot of discussions surrounding Donald Trump has been about his infamous wiretapping claims and his budget proposal. 

While the American president has faced a lot of criticism for slashing or completely removing funds for several social and research programs, including cuts to public broadcasting, meals on wheels, and NASA - he has also been criticised for the contradiction that he lives. 

Reports pointed out that before leaving for his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida this week, Trump proposed cuts to some relatively low-cost programs. 

Trump laid heavy emphasis on cutting waste and yet each of Trump’s trip to his Mar-a-Lago, a 126-room, 110,000-square-foot mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, reportedly costs $3 million - based on an October 2016 Government Accountability Office report on a trip President Barack Obama took in 2013.

According to a Politico report, that trip, including a stop in Palm Beach, Fla., cost $3.6 million, $3.2 million of which was the cost of aircraft.

It noted that Air Force One costs $206,337 an hour to operate, and the D.C. to Palm Beach flight takes about two hours. 

That would mean that the round-trip costs $824,000.

The remaining cost was for the five other planes and four helicopters, that were part of Obama’s overall team during the 2013 trip. 

According to the GAO report, Secret Service staffing for the same trip came up to $180,000. 

And the 89th Airlift Wing ran up a tab of $1.3 million, including the costs of operating Air Force One. 

The overall figure, is still about the $3 million estimated in most reports.

When George Howard Bush was the president, the security cover used to cost around $2 million a year for the U.S. Coast Guard as they had to station boats off the coast of his Kennebunkport, Maine estate.

These funds, one report pointed out could be used for the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness — budgeted at $4 million in 2016 — for three years if he’d just stayed in the White House.

Until last week, the president had spent four of his seven weekends at his Florida estate - 241¾ of his first 1,060 hours as president at Mar-a-Lago — 22.8 percent of his time in office. 

Trump's frequent visits to Florida are also proving to be a bane for West Palm Beach businesses and the county is seeking $1.7 million in reimbursement for the extra security costs.

Paulette Burdick, mayor of Palm Beach, said, “We've written a letter to the federal government, asking for the reimbursement for the sheriff for the impacts but as of today, we haven't heard back.”
Besides the county's spiraling extra security costs totaling $1.7 million, a local aviation company also said it was losing $30,000 per presidential trip in business due to a restricted fly zone.

Jonathan Miller, EO of Stellar Aviation Group, referring to his hanger full of planes, all grounded for the weekend, said, “I don't know if my business can sustain heavy losses like that.”
In addition, federal officials said 27 had violated temporary airspace restrictions, imposed for security reasons in a radius of 48 kilometers (30 miles) from Mar-a-Lago, dubbed by many the “Winter White House.”

The Washington Post reported in February, that expenses of the first four weeks of Trump’s presidency suggest that the U.S. government may end up spending hundreds of millions of dollars more than it did on the Obamas, mainly because of the president's travel.

Estimates had then suggested that already some $10 million has been spent in travel, security and more in connection with Trump's three trips to the Florida resort.

Soon after the inauguration, documents had revealed that Trump's security was costing around $2 million a day.

Further, as per norms, the President’s entire family would be under high priority security, meaning his 18-member family including Melania, Barron, four other adult children, three of them married, with a combined eight grandchildren also have to be secured.

Further, it was earlier pointed out that the cost of protecting first lady Melania Trump and the Trumps’ young son, Barron, at Trump Tower costs $1 million a day. 

The cost, critics said, could be eliminated if they joined him at the White House. 

In February, the city of New York precisely detailed the expenses on additional security at Trump’s home and noted that between the election and the inauguration, when Trump was living there as president-elect, the city spent about $308,000 a day. 

But the cost was expected to be $1 million lesser a day once Trump moved to Washington.

In a tweet, former government aide Bruce Bartlett said, “Trump is on track to spend $1 billion in 4 years housing his wife in NYC and vacationing in Mar-a-Lago virtually every week.”

Further, the former head of the Secret Service protection had, in 2008 estimated that protecting a candidate costs about $38,000 a day.

There were also reports earlier that U.S. Secret Service is negotiating with Trump’s Organisation to take over two empty floors of Trump Tower in New York. The agency and the New York Police Department would have to jointly run a command post for 250 agents and cops from there.

The decision came after Melania Trump and her ten-year-old son Barron decided to continue to reside at the $90-million triplex penthouse in the 58-storied skyscraper in New York until spring. 

The first 26 floors of the building houses commercial tenants, while the rest of the building has luxury apartments.

The agency had said that it was interested in the 15th and 17th floor that were vacant then. 

It was being marketed at $105 per square foot that would cost up to $1.5 million a year, per floor or about $4,100 a day. 

If the agency finalises the deal, it will cost the taxpayers a whopping $3 million a year. 

Including those figures, the amount spent for protecting Trump’s family in New York would be a bit under $200,000 a day, including New York City’s costs.

Reports are also estimating now that if Melania Trump moved out of NYC and moved to the White House, the country could save about $182 million a year. 

Now, Melania and Barron are reportedly planning a move to the White House sometime in June.

Further, in comparison, in eight years, the Obamas spent approximately $85 million on vacations.

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