Trump’s spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham implied in an email to Quartz that the first lady’s “advance team” was responsible for some of the costs. The team ensures “safety measures, medical care, communications, motorcade needs and logistics are all in place,” she wrote. They’re all “legally required for official travel,” she added.
But federal expense documents reported separate, additional costs for the advance team that added up to $18,000, according to Quartz.
The hotels are not identified in the expenses. They’re listed simply as “hotel rooms” under a heading of “miscellaneous foreign awardees” in the federal expense documents. There are six hotel charges ranging from nearly $12,000 to nearly $49,000, but the documents don’t offer details. (Other charges were for $16,000, $19,000, $35,000 and $43,000.)
The first lady was in Toronto to help kick off the Invictus Games, which Britain’s Prince Harry started in 2014 for disabled vet athletes.
A pool press report covering the Sept. 23 trip referred to stops that day at the Sheraton, the Ritz Carlton, a return to the Sheraton, and a get-together in the evening with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to watch the opening ceremony of the games at the Air Canada Center.
The first lady’s hotel stops included a 20-minute meeting with Prince Harry (at the Sheraton), and a reception later with 100 competing U.S. athletes, also at the Sheraton, where she gave a short speech, according to the pool report.
Trump’s visits began just after noon and she returned just after midnight to Andrews Air Force Base.
Grisham was infuriated by news reports about the bill from Melania Trump’s Cairo visit earlier this month, slamming “irresponsible” journalism after some initial reports said the first lady had spent the night. Grisham noted that Trump had, in fact, only spent some six hours in the hotel.
The first lady’s trip to Toronto also incurred $21,000 in transportation costs, Quartz reported.