Following the Yates and Clapper testimonies at today’s hearings, Trump tweeted out this desperate plea– the hypocrisy of which is palpable:
The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 8, 2017
Although it is convenient for Trump to claim that the FBI’s ongoing investigation of him is a hoax, if there is one thing our President has shown us, it’s that he has very little – if any – regard for facts. Furthermore, there is already evidence that Russia did play a role in influencing the 2016 election in Trump’s favor.
Both the FBI Director, James Comey, and the NSA Director, Mike Rogers, affirmed that the “Russians’ goal was to undermine the public faith in the U.S. democratic process” and that “Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted to harm former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and, by extension, help Trump.”
Perhaps the bigger point of hypocrisy, though, is Trump’s appropriation of the “taxpayer funded charade” line. If he has accomplished nothing else during his time in office, he will at least go down as the most costly and wasteful President in American history.
Trump, for his part, set off perhaps the most unnecessary congressional hearing in history when he falsely claimed that President Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower. FBI Director Comey decisively put this issue to rest when he said that there is absolutely no evidence to suggest Obama did anything of the sort. Of course, there was no mention by Republicans or the White House of any “taxpayer funded charades” during this catastrophic failure of a witch hunt.
Trump has not only wasted government resources by perpetuating fake news, but also an exorbitant amount of money on frequent trips, vacations, and travel. Friday’s spending bill allocated $61 million to reimburse law enforcement agencies for costs of protecting Trump and his family while on vacation in Florida or New York. Congress allocated an additional $58 million for costs such as rent in Trump Tower and housing for agents at Mar-a-Lago.
Trump’s own trips to Mar-a-Lago cost about $3.3 million per visit, and an additional $85,000 per day for county and city police officers. Since becoming President, he has spent 25 days at the Florida resort, bringing the total cost to almost $30 million.
Meanwhile, it costs the American taxpayer an estimated $58 million to protect Trump’s wife, Melania, and their son, Barron, in New York, according to the New York Police Department.
During his entire Presidency, Barack Obama spent $97 million on travel. Trump is currently on pace to outspend in his very first year what Obama spent in eight. For a President who ran on a platform of eliminating government waste, Trump certainly isn’t worried about his optics.
My question, though, is the same as the one Trump just posed: “When will this taxpayer funded charade end?”
Brian Tyler Cohen is a political writer, actor, and comedy sketch director. He graduated from Lehigh University with a dual degree in English and Business. He currently lives in Los Angeles.