Temper tantrums by adults are unseemly in the best of circumstances, but when it’s Trump having them, the taxpayers get the bill.
It’s not really news that Trump has taken to traveling south to Florida on a regular basis. While some commentators in the business and political worlds have pointed out how expensive that can be for taxpayers, there’s a small wrinkle that is getting buried in headlines that really should be accounted for in the numbers.
The cost of flying Air Force One anywhere has been established at around $200,000 per flying hour, and we keep seeing Trump take off to Mar-a-Lago, what is being called the “Winter White House.” While that is disturbing by itself when one considers the fact that Camp David still exists, a new development has started which hopefully will not become a trend. Getting Trump to his getaway with staff in tow is one thing – it’s something else entirely when he takes off in a huff, only to request the presence of key staffers after he leaves.
In a huff, Trump departed for Mar-a-Lago, taking with him from his inner circle only his daughter and Kushner, who is a White House senior adviser. His top two aides, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Bannon, stayed behind in Washington.
The Washington Post reported that in an article detailing a series of outbursts and temper tantrums from Trump. That trip was on Friday. Looking deeper into that same article is something that should have caused at least a little pause.
Trouble for Trump continued to spiral over the weekend. Early Saturday, he surprised his staff by firing off four tweets accusing Obama of a “Nixon/Watergate” plot to tap his Trump Tower phones in the run-up to last fall’s election. Trump cited no evidence, and Obama’s spokesman denied any such wiretap was ordered.
That night at Mar-a-Lago, Trump had dinner with Sessions, Bannon, Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly and White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, among others. They tried to put Trump in a better mood by going over their implementation plans for the travel ban, according to a White House official.
Note the second paragraph, pointing out that there was a dinner with people who had been left behind in Washington on Friday, and that dinner happened Saturday night. Since we know they didn’t miraculously appear there, and that the gathering was related to official business, that means the taxpayers weren’t just on the hook for Trump’s expensive flight. The people got the tab for the flights of the people Trump could have taken with him on that flight, but didn’t because he was throwing a temper tantrum.
Juxtapose this with Trump’s penchant for picking on the largesse of the Obama administration, and the unseemly tantrums become nauseating. If anyone had been hoping to see a radical change in the White House when it comes to exorbitant spending on travel, it looks like they got it. Unfortunately, it’s in the wrong direction. Hold on tight, folks. Just wait until the bills for the new limos come in. We’ll just have to see if Trump asked for any major upgrades from the previous models used by Obama. In the meantime, a word to the wise – watch what you’re reading when it comes to the travel habits of this president and his staff. Make sure you’re paying attention to when they don’t travel together, and why. If the choices are greens fees or piles of extra flights that aren’t really necessary, it’s fair to guess those greens fees are cheaper. Didn’t the previous president get a fair amount of freebie rounds anyway?