Trump hosted Chinese President Xi Jingping and his wife, Peng Liyuan, in Florida.EXPAND
Trump hosted Chinese President Xi Jingping and his wife, Peng Liyuan, in Florida.
Wikimedia Commons

Does Donald Trump Spend Too Much Time in Florida?

The president of the United States has spent more than a third of his time in office at his properties and a fourth at his golf clubs, Business Insider reported this week.

Much of that has been spent at Mar-a-Lago, where he celebrated Christmas and is staying now. And he has passed much of the time in South Florida at the Trump National Doral Miami. This is despite the fact he said during his campaign that he wasn't "going to have enough time to play golf as president." Well, he has spent a far higher proportion of his presidency golfing than either Bill Clinton or Barack Obama, the two other avid golfers to recently inhabit the White House.

All of this travel has depleted Secret Service funds and also made Trump a lot of money, because lobbyists and others pay beaucoup bucks in hopes of running into him at his properties. Indeed, they have gained access to the president in a way that ethics experts have criticized. "George W. Bush went to his ranch in Crawford, Texas, a lot, but it's not like you could rent the bedroom next to his," Jordan Libowitz, a spokesman for the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, told the Wall Street Journal.

And the Washington Post recently calculated that Trump could fund the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness for nearly four years if he had skipped the resort trips he’s taken.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office has estimated it spends $60,000 a day in overtime assisting the Secret Service when Trump visits. Palm Beach County Commissioner Steve Abrams proposed having tourists cover those costs, but so far that move is still on hold. This means locals are left holding the bag for a guy they voted against.

Of course the president says he gets a lot of work done here. During his Thanksgiving vacation, he tweeted, "Will be having meetings and working the phones from the Winter White House in Florida (Mar-a-Lago).” But the Huffington Post, after reviewing records, concluded  "not so much," noting the president is "cagey" about how much time he spends playing golf.

Then there is the hypocrisy factor. During his presidential campaign and since then, Trump has said Obama spent too much time on vacation.

Draw your own conclusion. But it seems clear the leader of the Western world needs to go somewhere else.

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