Regardless of your political affiliation, there is one thing every American has in common: a hatred of taxes. This is why it angers so many taxpayers when they find out how politicians are spending those taxpayer dollars.
And while all politicians and presidents are guilty of this, former President Donald Trump really takes the cake. He found increasingly extravagant and bizarre ways to make taxpayer dollars foot the bill for his every whim.
Don’t believe it? Here are some of the wildest examples of Trump spending your taxpayer dollars.
So many golf trips
Golf is usually at the center of Trump’s taxpayer scandals because it showcases his blatant hypocrisy. As CNN reports, Trump wrote no less than 27 tweets between 2011 and 2016 complaining about President Barack Obama’s golfing. The message was clear: Trump felt a president should focus on the country and not his golf game.
As of the end of 2020, Donald Trump had golfed 298 times since he was inaugurated as president. And these trips are expensive. According to the Department of Homeland Security, Trump’s 2018 visit to his Trump Turnberry golf resort in Scotland cost taxpayers a cool $1 million.
With nearly 300 golf outings on taxpayer dollars, the cost really added up during his presidency.
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Melania and Barron stay in New York
Early on in Donald Trump’s presidency, one of the weirder controversies centered around Melania Trump. Instead of moving into the White House right away, Melania and Barron Trump stayed in New York at the Trump Tower for the first five month’s of Donald’s presidency.
Melania claimed that this was to let Barron finish out the school year without disruption. Later, rumor had it that Melania was taking her time negotiating a new prenup.
Regardless of the reason, the Wall Street Journal reports that the NYPD protection for Melania and Barron was $127,000 per day. And the cost of Secret Service protection during this time was $60 million.
Oh, and all that flying back and forth? That added an extra $676,635 to this already exorbitant taxpayer bill.
Trump hotels billed the Secret Service
Back in 2019, Eric Trump shared an interesting fact during his Yahoo Finance interview. “If my father travels, they stay at our properties for free,” he said, referring to his security team and adding that the law requires them to charge the government for things like housekeeping. “So everywhere that he goes, if he stays at one of his places, the government actually spends, meaning it saves a fortune because if they were to go to a hotel across the street, they’d be charging them $500 a night, whereas, you know we charge them, like $50.”
But the Washington Post eventually debunked this claim. They discovered that the Trump Organization would charge up to $650 per night for Secret Service members to stay at Trump hotels. And for the Secret Service to stay at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster, the Trump Organization billed taxpayers $17,000 per month. “Trump’s company billed the government even for days when Trump wasn’t there,” the outlet reports, noting that it was “an unusually high rent for homes in that area.”
Assorted family business trips
Donald Trump was notorious for elevating his family members into positions of power. This included positions in the White House and in the Trump Organization. And when these family members needed to travel, it was always a pain to the taxpayers.
For example, Eric Trump traveled to Uruguay in 2017 to promote the Trump Organization. But to pay for things like hotel rooms and security, taxpayers had to fork over $100,000. While this would be bad enough as an isolated incident, CREW reports that the Trump family took trips 12 times as often as the Obama family!
All those campaign rallies
The campaign rally seemed to be Donald Trump’s natural environment. Long after securing the presidency, Trump continued to hold dozens of rallies in an attempt to bolster his support across the country.
But this support came at a cost… literally. For example, Quartz reports that the cost of air travel (and only air travel) to various midterm rallies came to $17 million dollars. And that doesn’t include the cost of travel to numerous rallies Trump traveled to before the midterm election year, nor does it include factors like lodging and security.
Considering that Trump ultimately lost the 2020 election, it would seem that these numerous extra rallies didn’t work as intended.
Donald Trump Jr. goes hunting
Donald Trump Jr. has often been in the headlines for his controversial hunting habit. Regardless of how you feel about hunting, these trips were controversial for exactly how much they cost taxpayers.
As an example, USA Today reports that Junior took a trip to Mongolia in 2019 to hunt an Argali mountain sheep and meet the president of Mongolia. While he footed much of the bill, Donald Trump Jr. still opted to bring his Secret Service detail along. That brought the taxpayer-funded cost of this trip to $75,000!
Fourth of July celebration
One of the hallmarks of Donald Trump is that he likes to make a big splash and headline major events. And he loves to spend exorbitant amounts of money on these events… so long as it’s someone else’s money, that is.
Perhaps the best example of this was the July 4th celebration in Washington D.C. in 2019. Trump took a personal interest and revamped the event. In addition to fireworks and a performance by the National Symphony Orchestra, Trump added warplanes and tanks to make the event more extravagant
Later, the Government Accountability Office reported that this event cost a staggering $13 million. That’s twice as much as the event ever cost under any previous American president!
Mike Pence’s NFL walkout stunt
Donald Trump loved to insert himself into various cultural controversies around the country. And when Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players kneeled during the National Anthem to protest police brutality, Trump fiercely argued against these players and teams on Twitter.
Eventually, Trump sent Mike Pence to a 2017 game where the Indianapolis Colts played against the San Francisco 49ers. Trump suspected players would kneel, and at his request, Mike Pence walked out when they did.
This was meant to be part of Trump’s symbolic protest against what these players were kneeling for. But according to HuffPost, the combined cost of travel, security, and emergency services made this stunt cost taxpayers $325,000.