A Democratic lawmaker announced a new bill on Tuesday that will force President Donald Trump to reimburse the public for travel costs incurred during his weekend trips to private golf resorts.
Introduced by California Rep. Ted Lieu, the Stop Waste and Misuse by the President (SWAMP) Act will prevent the federal government footing the bill for the president’s travels.
“Every time the president travels to Mar-a-Lago, he necessarily promotes his private business interests via free press at the government’s expense,” the bill reads.
“It is unacceptable for the president to maintain an interest in traveling to properties in which he has a direct financial interest, as the U.S. government is responsible for renting space for personnel in said private commercial entities.”
The document calculates that taxpayer-funded accommodation of Trump’s security detail at the Trump International Golf Club in Palm Beach, where the president played golf with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and world-ranked golfer Rory McIlroy, costs around $3.7 million per visit—an expense that does not include flights.
That’s before the $35,185 bill for golf cart rentals, ordered by the Secret Service “for POTUS visit,” and the roundtrip of flights, from Joint Base Andrews to Maryland and finally to Florida, costing $700,000.
While Trump has on occasion entertained diplomats and world leaders at his commercial golf resorts, the time spent there has come under increased scrutiny for potential gaps it may cause in security protocol.
In March, a request was filed with the General Accountability Office, a government watchdog, by four Democratic members of Congress demanding an investigation of who had access to the president at his private Mar-a-Lago club.
Rep. Lieu’s bill also criticizes the State Department’s promotion of Mar-a-Lago on its official website.
Yes, I am curious @StateDept. Why are taxpayer $$ promoting the President's private country club? pic.twitter.com/IlPhUlvMwa— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) April 24, 2017
Following protest from both the public and lawmakers, the department promptly removed the promotion and apologized.
“The intention of the article was to inform the public about where the President has been hosting world leaders,” it responded at the time. “We regret any misperception and have removed the post.”
Trump regularly criticized former President Barack Obama for playing golf instead of working, but statistics show he has hit the course more times in his first few months in office than former Presidents Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton.
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— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 14, 2014