Demand the Trump family repay the Treasury for Mar-a-Lago and private business travel
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Americans expect to pay for – and complain about – Secret Service, local police, and Air Force One expenses while the president travels to meet other world leaders or on vacation. But the Trump presidency presents unique circumstances. In addition to White House protection, extensive security is required in New York City, Mar-a-Lago, the Trump children residencies and for the extended family’s frequent and non-government travel schedules.
This petition requests that, as a self-proclaimed billionaire, President Trump reimburse the Treasury for his Mar-a-Lago trips, and his children repay the Treasury for Secret Service protection and hotel bills incurred on private real estate business. Currently, American taxpayers, many of whom live paycheck to paycheck, are paying for lavish presidential golf weekends and overseas real estate deals.
At the same time, the Trump budget proposal eliminates the $3 billion Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) that helps local governments provide affordable housing, create jobs, and reach out to vulnerable citizens. The CDBG covers some of the 5,000 nationwide Meals on Wheels groups.
Budget cuts are also aimed at the National Institutes of Health, which funds research for cancer, diabetes, HIV, and other diseases, Head Start, a federally-funded program providing educational, nutritional, medical, and social programing to low-income 3 – 5-year-olds. Possible eliminations include National Public Radio (NPR), the National Endowment of the Arts, free lunches and after-school meals for children in low-income households and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which subsidizes millions of Americans’ utility bills during freezing winters and scorching summers.
Protecting the First Lady and their son in Trump Tower, where the two are living at least through the school year, costs approximately $500,000/day (ABC News, 2/17/17).
In his first 50 days as president, Mr. Trump has spent five weekends at Mar-a-Lago and another at the Trump National Golf Club in Virginia. According to the Washington Post (March 17, 2016), every Florida trip costs taxpayers about $3 million, for a total of $15 million in two months. Palm Beach County pays about $60,000 a day in overtime for every day the president is there; over Thanksgiving, it paid $248,000 in taxpayer-funded overtime.
Eric Trump’s 2-night business trip to Uruguay in January cost taxpayers about $100,000 in hotel bills, government staff, and Secret Service. Since election day, one or both brothers have travelled to Dubai, the Dominican Republic, and Vancouver on real estate business, all with Secret Service in tow.
In November 2013, Mr. Trump tweeted about President Obama playing golf. “President Obama played golf yesterday???” And again in October 2014: “Can you believe that, with all of the problems and difficulties facing the U.S., President Obama spent the day playing golf.” In 2015, candidate Trump vowed to “rarely leave the White House because there’s so much work to be done. I would not be a president who took vacations. I would not be a president that takes time off… You don’t have time to take time off.”
The president said he would donate the hotel profits he earns from foreign governments to the US Treasury. To date, he has not done this.
Treasury reimbursement is not directed to specific programs. However, it makes sense that a billionaire First Family spends its own fortune for weekend Florida golf trips and affluent private business sprees, especially when, at the same time, vulnerable Americans risk losing basic survival needs.
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