BERKELEY HEIGHTS, N.J. – Donald Trump’s presidential golf costs have topped $110 million in his 2 1/2 years in office – more than $4 million more than a conservative group’s estimate for predecessor Barack Obama’s total travel costs over two full terms.
Trump arrived at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, Friday evening and is scheduled to remain there through Sunday afternoon. It is his 18 golf trip there since taking office. Sunday will mark his 67th day at that course and his 199th day at a golf course he owns.
The White House on Saturday did not respond to queries about Trump’s golf activities.
Each of the president’s trips to Bedminster costs taxpayers at least $1.1 million in travel and security expenses, according to a HuffPost analysis. Each trip to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida – of which Trump has made 24 – costs taxpayers $3.4 million.
Since taking office, Trump also has visited his golf resorts in Los Angeles; Doral, Florida; Doonbeg, Ireland; and Turnberry, Scotland ― all on the taxpayer dime. He also has made 64 day trips to his course in northern Virginia.
Judicial Watch, a tax-exempt conservative group, in 2017 said that its tally of Obama’s travel costs based on documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act lawsuits had hit $105.7 million. That total, though, appears to include official trips of Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama, as well as some campaign-related travel that was partially reimbursed by the Democratic Party.
Trump’s $110.3 million total in HuffPost’s analysis is for travel to and from golf vacations, and does not include official or campaign travel. It is based on cost elements derived from a Government Accountability Office report released in January that detailed four Mar-a-Lago trips Trump took just weeks after entering office.
Judicial Watch did not respond to a HuffPost request for comment. A review of its web site shows that it remains focused on attacking 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, former FBI director James Comey and former special counsel Robert Mueller.
During Obama’s presidency, Trump was a frequent critic of Obama’s golf hobby. “Can you believe that, with all of the problems and difficulties facing the U.S., President Obama spent the day playing golf. Worse than Carter,” he wrote on Twitter in 2014.
During his campaign for president, Trump claimed that he would be too busy working to have time for any vacations at all. “I love golf, but if I were in the White House, I don’t think I’d ever see Turnberry again. I don’t think I’d ever see Doral again,” he told a rally audience in February 2016. “I don’t ever think I’d see anything. I just want to stay in the White House and work my ass off.”
Instead, Trump has been on the golf course two and a half times as much as Obama was at the same time in his presidency. And, because he insists on playing on his own courses in Florida and New Jersey so much, his golf-related costs to taxpayers are triple that of Obama’s in the same time period.
Most of Obama’s golf rounds were played at military bases within motorcade range of the White House, which cost taxpayers relatively little. In contrast, 68% of Trump’s golf days have been at his resorts that require the use of Air Force jets, Marine Corps helicopters, and Air Force transport planes to move his motorcade vehicles. His trips to Mar-a-Lago also require Coast Guard boats and ships to patrol the Atlantic Ocean and Intracoastal Waterway. On his overseas golf outings, the travel footprint is even larger.
Trump’s recent trip to Doonbeg, Ireland, for example, cost taxpayers some $3.6 million, even though it involved relatively short flights to and from southern England and northern France.