How Much President Trump’s Trips To Mar-a-Lago Are Costing Taxpayers | TODAY


FOR US.
GABE, GOOD MORNING. >>Reporter: MATT, GOOD MORNING.
THE WHITE HOUSE AS WELL AS THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE AND
HOMELAND SECURITY WON’T SAY EXACTLY HOW MUCH THESE TRIPS ARE
COSTING, BUT WHILE THE WHITE HOUSE INSISTS THERE ARE NO
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, ETHICS WATCHDOGS SAY THE
TAXPAYER-FUNDED TRIPS ARE TO PROMOTE A FAMILY BUSINESS AND
EXPLOITING THE PRESIDENCY FOR PERSONAL GAIN.
WHEN BARACK OBAMA WAS PRESIDENT, DONALD TRUMP HAD HARSH WORDS
ABOUT HIS TRAVEL TRIPS. >>WHAT’S BETTER THAN THE WHITE
HOUSE? WHY THESE VACATIONS?
YOU’RE IN THE WHITE HOUSE, THERE’S SO MUCH WORK TO BE DONE.
>>Reporter: BUT NOW MR. TRUMP’S TRAVELING OFTEN TO MAR-A-LAGO,
HIS GLITZCY, SPRAWLING, FLORIDA ESTATE.
ALSO A PRIVATE CLUB OWNED BY THE FAMILY BUSINESS.
SEVEN TRIPS SINCE HE TOOK OFFICE INCLUDING ANOTHER ONE THIS WEEK.
MORE THAN HALF OF THE WEEKENDS. >>I HAVE THE SOUTHERN WHITE
HOUSE IN FLORIDA. WE GET A LOT OF WORK DONE, NOT A
LOT OF REST AT THE SOUTH WHITE HOUSE, A LOT OF WORK.
>>Reporter: WHO’S WHO OF THE ADMINISTRATION, POLICY
CONSULTANTS AND MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, MANY FLOWN DOWN AT
TAXPAYER EXPENSE AND STAYING IN HIGH-PRICED ROOMS IN MAR-A-LAGO.
PLUS FOREIGN OFFICIALS LIKE CHINA’S PRESIDENT XI JINPING.
LAST WEEK HE STAYED OVERNIGHT IN A NEARBY RESORT AND THE JAPANESE
PRIME MINISTER SHINZO ABE AND ROBERT KRAFT WHO TRAVELED ON AIR
FORCE ONE AND MARINE ONE. HOW UNPRECEDENTED IS THIS?
>>I CAN’T THINK OF ANYTHING LIKE THIS THAT WE HAVE SEEN AT
ANY TIME IN THE MODERN ERA. >>Reporter: STEVE SOON SCOONER
SAYS WHAT IS SO DIFFERENT THAT UNLIKE PRESIDENT BUSCH’S TRIPS
OR PRESIDENT OBAMA’S TRIPS TO MARTHA’S VINEYARD, HE’S VISITING
A PRIVATELY OWNED FAMILY BUSINESS TO MINGLE WITH CLUB
OWNERS WHERE HE CAN PAY MONEY JUST TO JOIN.
>>THE PRESIDENT SHOULD HAVE INVESTED IN PROPERTIES TO BEGIN
WITH. HE SHOULDN’T BE TRAVELING THERE
ON A REGULAR BASIS ON THE PUBLIC’S DIME AND DRIVING
BUSINESS TO HIS OWN COMMERCIAL INTEREST.
>>Reporter: SHINZO ABE’S TRIP WAS A PERSONAL GIFT FROM THE
PRESIDENT HIMSELF AND THE PLAN IS TO DO SO FOR OTHER FOREIGN
OFFICIALS. FOR TRANSPORTATION, SECRET
SERVICE PROTECTION, MILITARY SUPPORT AND THE COAST GUARD ARE
ALL PAID FOR WITH TAXPAYERS’ MONEY.
THE WHITE HOUSE WON’T SAY EXACTLY HOW MUCH, BUT THE
GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE ESTIMATED THAT A WEEKEND TRIP IN
2013 BY PRESIDENT OBAMA TO CHICAGO AND SOUTH FLORIDA COST
ABOUT $3.6 MILLION. THE COST FOR AIR FORCE ONE
ALONE, $142,000 AN HOUR. >>THIS IS WHERE HE GOES TO SEE
HIS FAMILY, HE BRINGS PEOPLE DOWN THERE.
THIS IS PART OF BEING PRESIDENT.>>Reporter: BUT CRITICS
INCLUDING A CONSERVATIVE BUDGET WATCHDOG GROUP SAY THE FREQUENT
TRIPS COST TOO MUCH. >>THERE’S ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT.
AND THE PRESIDENT SHOULD DO WELL TO FIGURE OUT WAYS TO SAVE MONEY
FOR THE TAXPAYER IN THE WHITE HOUSE OPERATIONS.
AND MOVING THEM AROUND. >>Reporter: EVERY TIME THE
PRESIDENT VISITS, HOW MUCH DOES IT COST YOUR DEPARTMENT?
>>IT’S ABOUT $60,000 A DAY. >>Reporter: PALM BEACH COUNTY
SHERIFF RICK BRADSHAW SAYS THAT ADDED UP TO $2 MILLION SINCE THE
INAUGURATION. >>WE CAN SUSTAIN THIS A WHILE
LONGER. IF IT GOES MANY MORE MONTHS,
THEN WE HAVE TO MAKE DECISIONS ON TALKING WITH THE COUNTY TO
GET CONTINGENCY FUNDS. >>Reporter: IN THE EIGHT YEARS
OF HIS PRESIDENCY, BARACK OBAMA’S TOTAL COSTS WERE AT
LEAST $97 MILLION. AT THE CURRENT RATE, THE COST OF
PRESIDENT TRUMP’S TRAVEL COULD WELL EXCEED THAT.
BUT WHAT ALL THIS REALLY ADDS UP TO, ETHICS WATCHDOGS SAY, IS A
PRESIDENT SPENDING LOTS OF TAXPAYER MONEY TO CONDUCT
PRESIDENTIAL BUSINESS WHILE PROMOTING HIS FAMILY’S BUSINESS
AT THE SAME TIME. >>THIS IS A PRIVATELY-OWNED
CLUB. AND FOR ALL INTENTS AND
PURPOSES, WAS JUST ANOTHER GULF PROPERTY IN FLORIDA BEFORE THAT
ALMOST NOW IS SOMETHING THAT AMERICANS IMMEDIATELY RECOGNIZE,
IMAGINE WHAT YOU WOULD HAVE TO PAY TO GET THAT KIND OF BRAND
RECOGNITION. THAT’S EXTRAORDINARY.
>>Reporter: AT THE REQUEST OF SENATE DEMOCRATS, THE GAL WILL
REVIEW THE MAR-A-LAGO COSTS TO FIND OUT IF THEY ARE FAIR AND
REASONABLE. OFFICIALS HERE IN PALM BEACH AND
NEW YORK WHERE TRUMP TOWER ARE LOCATED, WHEN ASKED WHEN THEY
WILL BE REIMBURSED, THEY HAVE NOT OFFICIALLY HEARD BACK.
AND ONE LOCAL COUNTY COMMISSIONER IS LOOKING INTO THE
POSSIBILITY OF EXTRA TAXES ON THE MAR-A-LAGO P

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