On Friday, President Trump and his entourage will jet for the third straight weekend to a working getaway at his oceanfront Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida.
On Saturday, Trump’s sons Eric and Don Jr., with their Secret Service details in tow, will be nearly 8,000 miles away in the United Arab Emirates, attending the grand opening of a Trump-brand golf resort in the “Beverly Hills of Dubai.”
Meanwhile, New York police will keep watch outside the Trump Tower in Manhattan, the chosen home of first lady Melania Trump and son Barron. And the tiny township of Bedminster, New Jersey, is preparing for the daunting prospect the local Trump golf course will serve as a sort of northern White House for as many as 10 weekends a year.
Barely a month into the Trump presidency, the unusually elaborate lifestyle of America’s new first family is straining the Secret Service and security officials, stirring financial and logistical concerns in several local communities, and costing far beyond what has been typical for past presidents — a price tag that, based on past assessments of presidential travel and security costs, could balloon into the hundreds of millions of dollars over the course of four years.
Adding to the costs and complications is Trump’s inclination to conduct official business surrounded by crowds of people, such as his decision last weekend to host Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for a working dinner while Mar-a-Lago members dined nearby.
The handful of government agencies that bear the brunt of the expenses, including the Defense and Homeland Security departments, have not responded to Washington Post requests for data laying out the costs since Trump took office.
But some figures have dribbled out, while others can be gleaned from government documents.
Trump’s three Mar-a-Lago trips since the inauguration have likely cost the federal treasury roughly $10 million, based on figures used in an October government report analyzing White House travel, including money for Coast Guard units to patrol the exposed shoreline and other military, security and staffing expenses associated with moving the apparatus of the presidency.
Palm Beach County officials plan to ask Washington to reimburse tens of thousands of dollars a day in expenses for deputies handling added security and traffic issues around the cramped Florida island whenever Trump is in town.
In New York, the city is paying $500,000 a day to guard Trump Tower, according to police officials’ estimates, an amount that could reach $183 million a year.
Earlier this month, The Post reported that Secret Service and U.S. embassy staff paid nearly $100,000 in hotel-room bills to support Eric Trump’s trip to promote a Trump-brand condo tower in Uruguay.
“This is an expensive way to conduct business, and the president should recognize that,” said Tom Fitton, president of the conservative group Judicial Watch, which closely tracked President Barack Obama’s family vacation costs and said it intends to continue the effort for the Trump administration.
“The unique thing about President Trump is that he knows what it costs to run a plane.” Fitton added, noting Trump should consider using the presidential retreat at Camp David, a short helicopter ride from the White House, or even his golf course in northern Virginia.