Trump Is Going on Vacation for the Third Weekend in a Row
President Donald Trump will reportedly return to his vacation home at his Mar-a-Lago Club for the third weekend in a row, the Palm Beach Post reports. This also means that Trump has spent most of his weekends as president so far at his vacation home — the two exceptions being his inauguration weekend in Washington, D.C., and the weekend of January 28.
What’s wrong with Trump taking so much time away from the White House? For one thing, traveling as the president doesn’t come cheap. While presidents do pay for their own lodging, Politico reports that weekend trips similar to the ones Trump has taken cost taxpayers more than $3 million due to the Secret Service detail and Air Force One expenses. That also doesn’t take into account the logistical challenges that come with presidential travel, including special advisories from the Federal Aviation Administration and other transportation departments.
In Trump’s case, it can also be risky to spend so much time in public when classified national security concerns come up and an action plan isn’t in place for dealing with them privately, The New York Times reports. This past weekend, Trump and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe received word of a North Korean ballistic missile test while they were dining publicly at Trump’s club, according to CNN. Photos surfaced on Facebook, taken by a private citizen and Mar-a-Lago member, of the president and his team reading documents in a public part of club and using their cell phones to look at the material, a possible breach of security protocol. (Hackers can tap into phone cameras and see what’s on those pages, The Verge points out.)
On Monday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that “no classified material” was discussed in public view, according to The Washington Post. Democrats were quick to point out the disregard for proper protocol when discussing sensitive matters in public view. Representative Nancy Pelosi of California wrote in a tweet, “There’s no excuse for letting an international crisis play out in front of a bunch of country club members like dinner theater.”
There's no excuse for letting an international crisis play out in front of a bunch of country club members like dinner theater. #FireFlynn
— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) February 13, 2017
Additionally, Rhode Island senator Sheldon Whitehouse and New Mexico senator Tom Udall publicly condemned Trump’s actions in a statement, according to The New York Times. The two senators said, “This is America’s foreign policy, not this week’s episode of Saturday Night Live. We urge our Republican colleagues to start taking this Administration’s rash and unprofessional conduct seriously before there are consequences we all regret.”
Ironically, early in his campaign, Trump specifically claimed that he wouldn’t vacation often if he were president. “I would rarely leave the White House because there’s so much work to be done,” Trump said in 2015. “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.”
He also attacked Barack Obama on Twitter multiple times during his presidency for taking vacations. “Obama’s motto: If I don’t go on tax payer funded vacations & constantly fundraise then the terrorists win,” Trump tweeted in August 2014.
Obama’s motto: If I don’t go on tax payer funded vacations & constantly fundraise then the terrorists win.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 25, 2014
“While our wonderful president was out playing golf all day, the TSA is falling apart, just like our government! Airports a total disaster!” he posted in May 2016.
While our wonderful president was out playing golf all day, the TSA is falling apart, just like our government! Airports a total disaster!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 21, 2016
So far, the White House hasn’t commented on Trump’s multiple weekend trips to Mar-a-Lago.
(h/t Teen Vogue)