IN OTHER NEWS
The chaos caused by history’s most scandal-ridden president has occupied the nation. In Other News is a regular feature, based on open-source reporting, that examines issues on the national and state levels that merit the attention of voters. The following column regards new reporting last week that caused a stir for just a day before becoming lost in the never-ending coverage of Donald J. Trump, from his impeachment to his impetuous actions on the world stage.
–By Rich Leonard, Communications Committee
The Trump administration is fighting efforts to disclose the exact cost of Secret Service protection during the president and his family’s extensive travel, including hundreds of days on golf courses and Trump-owned properties. The administration’s strategy is purely political: to delay release of data until after the 2020 election.
Democrats are demanding the disclosure as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and key senators have been negotiating draft legislation to move the Secret Service back to his department, its historic home.
One statistic, already posted on a government website, makes clear why administration wants to hide the information from taxpayers: The Secret Service has spent $588,000 on leased golf carts to escort Trump during his golfing outings.
Moreover, the travel, lodging and entertainment costs of Trump’s golf outings and visits to his properties run into the hundreds of millions and also reveal another truth: Trump may be the laziest person to ever hold the office of the presidency.
In his first 1,087 days in office, Donald Trump has visited golf courses 23.6 percent of the time, or 262 days. He has visited a property he owns 341 days, or 31.4 percent. These outings often overlap, of course.
The Washington Post brought the issue into sharp detail last week in an extensive report by Pulitzer Prize winning reporters Carol Lennig and David Farenthold.. Mnuchin seeks delay of proposed disclosure of Secret Service spending on presidential travel until after election
Two other websites offer additional information that should make taxpayers see red:
President Donald Trump – Public Schedule Calendar provides great detail and graphics on his many vacations.
Analysis | Nearly a third of the days he’s been president, Trump has visited a Trump-branded property ties Trump’s golf outings and more with significant events occuring at the same time.
A world on beset with conflict, terrorism and natural disasters will not keep the leader of the free world from his beloved Mar-a-Lago in Florida and Bedmister, N.J., estates and golf courses. He keeps in touch with the nation via his endless tweets that are largely lies and only create more chaos. It’s comforting to know that golf and fine dining aren’t the only thing on his mind.
To add insult to injury, every trip to a Trump property adds to his businesses‘ bottom line, since his entourage and guests must stay and dine there as well.
Before and during the 2016 campaign Trump characterized President Barack Obama’s golf outings as a dereliction of duty. He promised to never take a vacation while in office because there was just too much work to get done.
Last week, however, the Post reported that: “A report by the Government Accountability Office, which serves as the congressional watchdog on federal spending, estimated that Trump’s travel cost $13.6 million in just one month in early 2017. That total included the costs of travel for Secret Service and Defense Department personnel, and the costs of renting space and operating equipment such as boats and planes. If spending continued at that pace, Trump would have exceeded Obama’s total expenses (over eight years) before the end of his first year in office.”
In retrospect, Trump’s promises about never taking a break from the White House are laughable. Unfortunately, the joke’s on us.
Rich Leonard is a former executive editor and director of recruiting for the Gannett Co., publishers of USA TODAY