From the files of not normal: The cost of Mar-a-Lago to the American people

by Patty Templeton

News you need to knowPresident Trump owns a West Palm Beach, Florida, estate called Mar-a-Lago. Since 1995, it has been a private club for the rich. It’s a 20-acre, ocean-front property that costs $200,000 to join, $14,000 in annual dues, plus taxes, and a minimum food cost of $2,000 annually per member.

Since taking office, Trump has spent about 22 percent of his time at Trump-branded properties (mostly at Mar-a-Lago), rather than at the White House.

Why this is not normalEach time Trump goes to Mar-a-Lago – and he’s traveled there four of the eight weekends he’s been president – it costs the American people about $3 million.

In one year, President Obama’s travel expenses were $12.1 million. In less than two months, Trump has spent more than $10 million on travel.

When Trump insists on hosting political meetings at Mar-a-Lago, it also affects the local economy of Palm Beach. Examples of Trump-associated costs are:

$200,000 in lost fuel sales at a local airport for a Trump four-day visit.

250 flights being grounded every day that Trump is in town.

Restaurants having up to 75 reservation no-shows in a single night due to patrons not wanting to deal with the politics or traffic of Trump being nearby.

$60,000 a day in deputy overtime to guard presidential road closures.

Trump has hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Mar-a-Lago. In April, he will host Chinese President Xi Jinping. Instead of Trump strengthening the brand of America by bringing dignitaries to the White House, he chooses to strengthen his own wallet by hosting them at Trump-branded properties.

Patty TempletonDGO Staff Writer

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