Day 45- Trump’s trips to his resorts

He has spent 21 days of his 80-day presidency at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, at an estimated cost of $21.6 million.

After racking up an estimated $22 million travel tab in less than three months, Donald Trump is well on his way to spending more in a single year than Barack Obama spent on travel during all eight years of his presidency.

Trump has spent 21 days of his 80-day presidency at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, at an estimated cost of $21.6 million in travel and security expenses, CNN reported. In contrast, Obama spent a total of just under $97 million during his entire presidency, according to costs estimated by Judicial Watch.

At Trump’s current pace, he will spend $99 million by the end of his first year in office. That would add up to close to $800 million if he served an eight-year term as Obama did.

This coming from the man who said this on the campaign trail.

But with most things we have seen with Trump- what he said and what he is actually doing are polar opposites, which leaves people to try and defend his ridiculous hypocrisy.

So why does he need to leave every weekend?

Trump’s frequent visits to South Florida have also taken a toll on the area. Last month, Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) asked Trump to help pay for the extra security his visits require, a service that has already cost the community $1.7 million.

“Please step up to the plate and help us get this money back,’” said Frankel, per WPBF. “And if you’re unable to do that, consider curtailing your travel.”  

She suggested Camp David as an alternative.

Florida lawmakers have also suggested imposing special taxes on Mar-a-Lago to help defray costs. Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw estimated that Trump’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping cost the community $250,000 in police overtime.

Taxpayers are also footing the bill for a second presidential residence at Trump Tower in Manhattan, where first lady Melania and son Baron reside. NYPD officials estimated that they spend $500,000 a day on security, CNBC reported.

Trump’s inflated travel expenditures have become a particularly touchy subject, given the extensive budget cuts he has proposed. Voters and politicians have even started comparing Mar-a-Lago costs to federal funds that could save a program destined for the chopping block.

At the potential illegal ramifications of going to his private business every weekend. 

According to a report from CNBC, Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago raised membership fees from $100,000 to $200,000.

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I’m sure that has nothing to do with the fact that he intends to use Mar-A-Lago as an occasional retreat from the White House. Oh, wait.

Either way, a membership at Mar-a-Lago now includes a chance to mingle with the 45th president. Trump plans to use the resort as his occasional “Winter White House.” He has visited twice since his election — first for Thanksgiving and then over Christmas and New Year holidays.

It would be instructive to know who will pay those higher fees. Will his foreign partners and friends be paying more for some access to the president?

Tell me more about how Trump isn’t benefitting financially from his office? But wait! There’s more. Bloomberg reports that the Trump Organization has changed their plans to build hotels around the world and instead plans more in the United States.

Trump Hotels Chief Executive Officer Eric Danziger suggested the company’s broad U.S. ambitions while saying it shelved plans for expansion in China, where the president’s comments have already led to rocky diplomatic relations.

“There are 26 major metropolitan areas in the U.S., and we’re in five,” Danziger said after a panel discussion Tuesday at the Americas Lodging Investment Summit in Los Angeles. “I don’t see any reason that we couldn’t be in all of them eventually.”

Since Trump hasn’t actually transferred ownership of his businesses to his sons, but instead just the management, he will certainly benefit from the branding of his hotels here in the United States, right?

Of course, his foreign partners aren’t left in the cold. At the inaugural, they got VIP treatment according to Mother Jones.

But Trump made clear that existing foreign deals would remain in place. Partners in two of those projects—Tanoesoedibjo, with whom Trump is developing a pair of luxury resorts in Indonesia, and Hussain Sajwani, a Dubai-based real estate developer who has licensed Trump’s name for luxury villas and lush desert golf courses—attended the inaugural festivities.

Since Trump refused to divest from his businesses, he is now getting cash and favors from foreign governments, through guests and events at his hotels, leases in his buildings, and valuable real estate deals abroad. Trump does business with countries like China, India, Indonesia and the Philippines, and now that he is President, his company’s acceptance of any benefits from the governments of those countries violates the Constitution. When Trump the president sits down to negotiate trade deals with these countries, the American people will have no way of knowing whether he will also be thinking about the profits of Trump the businessman.

“President Trump has made his slogan ‘America First,’” said Bookbinder. “So you would think he would want to strictly follow the Constitution’s foreign emoluments clause, since it was written to ensure our government officials are thinking of Americans first, and not foreign governments.”

THE OTHER TRUMP SCANDAL HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT

While the president battles accusations of collusion with Russia, he is doing nothing to hide his glaring financial conflicts in Washington and Palm Beach.

Amid the many scandals threatening to tear down the White House brewing barely beneath the surface, it is easy to lose sight of the audacious pay-to-play operation President Donald Trump is not even trying to conceal. Such was the case this past weekend, like three of the six weekends before it, when Trump flew south to Florida, to unwind at Mar-a-Lago, his private Palm Beach resort.

At times, the “Winter White House” had the air of a family reunion, with Trump’s daughter Ivanka, son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, and their three children all soaking in the Palm Beach sun alongside their patriarch. White House strategist Stephen Bannon flew down separately to meet his boss there, where he reportedly sat in on a working dinner with Jeff Sessions, Secretary of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, White House counsel Don McGahn, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

Sessions, perhaps more than anyone, embraced the slower pace of South Florida life after a trying week on the job. As the Palm Beach Post reported, Sessions greeted guests and shook hands as he made his way around the resort, giving paying members, once again, a front-row seat to the presidency.

But ever the showman, Trump did not miss the opportunity to put on a good face for the members and charities who pay him tens thousands of dollars to patronize his business. The Palm Beach Post reported that the president wandered into a gala in the club’s ballroom held to benefit the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, shaking hands and mingling with members.

This has become a pattern for Trump: he spends the weeks in Washington, heads down to Palm Beach for the weekends, where he plays golf during the day (so far, he has played eight rounds since he took office) and sits down for official business over dinner at night (including this weekend’s meal with Sessions, Ross, and Bannon, and, before that, his now infamous dinner with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, during which guests snapped photos of the two leaders handling a sudden diplomatic crisis). Later, he usually meanders through various events, like weddings, and galas at the club to make paying members happy.

This unfettered access to a sitting president by a privileged few is unprecedented, particularly because Trump stands to financially benefit from those interested in the access he provides to himself and his Cabinet. Mar-a-Lago, from which Trump has not divested, doubled its initiation fee, days before his inauguration, to $200,000, and doubled its annual dues. But it’s a small price to pay for those lining up to rub elbows with the president and his advisers. “Everyone wants to be close to the president,” a new member recently told Politico, noting that dinner reservations are now all booked weeks in advance. Charities that book events at the venue are also experiencing a Trump bump. The Lincoln Day Dinner gala set for later this month, for example, sold out earlier this year. “That was without confirming a speaker,” the chairman of Palm Beach’s G.O.P. told Politico. “They want to be able to say ‘I had dinner at the president’s house.’ ”

It is not just at Mar-a-Lago that people are looking for a piece of Trump. As the Associated Press reported, the Trump Hotel just down the road from the White House in Washington, D.C. has become a hotbed of Trump supporters looking to catch a glimpse of the president, who recently popped in for a steak one weekday night with Kushner and his wife, while his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson dined at a table nearby. Rooms, which were almost completely vacant when I stayed at the hotel two days before the election, are now mostly booked.

They’re not just occupied by anybody, either. Trump’s billionaire business partner Phil Ruffin, who donated $1 million to his inauguration committee, said he spent $18,000 per night in order to rest his head at a Trump-owned property, according to the AP. Three members of his administration—Steven Mnuchin, Gary Cohn, and Linda McMahon—are all residing in the gilded Trump Hotel while they serve in Washington. Trump’s sons Eric and Donald Jr. posed with revelers at the hotel when they visited town to watch their father nominate a justice to the Supreme Court.

That President Trump opted to not divest from his businesses when he took office, and chose, instead, to turn the keys over to his sons, raised ethical flags. That the brand is experiencing this sort of renaissance raised them even higher. But it is the issue of foreign money pouring into Trump’s businesses that might elevate those conflicts into unconstitutional territory. The Emoluments Clause states that a president cannot lawfully accept money from foreign leaders or entities, and many worried that such leaders and entities would use hotel stays or banquet bookings in order to curry favor with the president and his family.

Trump’s lawyers have said this does not violate the Emoluments Clause because it is a fair value exchange. He said that he would donate any profits from foreign stays at the hotel to the U.S. Treasury, but he has not indicated how and when that will happen, or if it has happened already. Already one watchdog group, composed of former White House lawyers, constitutional scholars, and prominent litigators, is currently suing the president on precisely these grounds, arguing that accepting such payments violates the U.S. Constitution.

With the fate of Trump’s presidency potentially hanging in the balance, the Kuwaiti ambassador and his wife held a reception under the chandeliered ballroom in Trump’s new hotel last week, there money flowing into the Trump Organization’s coffers. Where it went after that remains unknown. (A spokesperson for the company did not respond to the A.P.’s questions about whether the money from the embassy has been or will be donated.) Before retiring to his room upstairs, Mnuchin reportedly stopped by.

A running list of his conflicts of interest with his businesses

my take- I think that Trump believes that now he is president, that he is basically the King of the USA and he can do whatever the F he wants.

This is how I believe he sees himself.

But what I see is a self-absorbed toddler who is abusing his power he won by lying to the American people and is going to use this office to 1. cancel his debts with Russia and other world leaders and 2. increase his global “brand” to make himself and his family boat loads of money and he doesn’t care if he takes the whole thing down with him because he will just buy more low so he can sell it once a democrat president comes in and cleans it all up.

How I see him

For an updated list of how many times Trump has visited Mar-a-Lago as well as how much it has cost taxpayers, CLICK HERE

Today as there were protests in over 100 countries over him not releasing his Tax returns, Trump made the drivers of his motorcade go through an unusually long route to avoid seeing the protests in Palm Beach

 

 

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