President Donald Trump plans to spend this coming weekend – the third weekend in a row – at his golf resort in Florida, Mar-A-Lago. Each of these consecutive vacations is estimated to cost taxpayers around $3 million. This past weekend Trump spent time at Mar-A-Lago with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife. There is nothing wrong per se with using social events to conduct diplomacy and enrich ties between countries, but the details in the Trump case are disturbing.
Taxpayers are footing the bill for weekly stays at a lavish resort, and that hard-earned money is being funneled into a Trump business. Trump has not fully divested his assets and has refused to create a blind trust to manage his wealth. His sons, Eric and Donald Jr., still head Trump Organization. All of this means that Trump and his immediately family stand to gain from millions of dollars pouring into Mar-A-Lago.
Trump has called Mar-A-Lago his “Winter White House” and he is indeed using it as a tropical getaway, foreign relations venue, and foreign policy office – despite the golf club being less private and protected than the real White House.
When former president Barack Obama was in office, Republicans and especially Trump routinely criticized him for playing golf.
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
That is only one of three tweets sent by Trump condemning Obama’s golfing in the single month of October, 2014. Trump had a multi-year habit of commenting incessantly on every game of golf Obama played. However, compared to Obama and former president George W. Bush, Trump wasted no time hitting the golf course. He started playing in less than a month after taking office, while Obama and Bush waited three and six months, respectively.
This is all trivial compared to glaring conflict of interest at work when Trump spends taxpayer money at his own golf club. But if Trump is willing to dole out criticism to others for golfing on the job, he had better be ready to take it.
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