President Donald Trump may want to cut the federal budget and says he wants to return tax dollars back to the American public. Even so, he sure does love to spend your money on his personal pastimes.
Over the Thanksgiving weekend, the Secret Service reportedly spent $7,470 on golf cart rentals for its agents and the president while at Trump's private Florida club, Mar-a-Lago, according to federal purchase orders reviewed by USA Today. In total, the publication reports that the Secret Service has spent $144,975 on golf carts in the 11 months since Trump assumed office.
Golfing is such an integral part of Trump’s routine — he's been on 81 trips to golf properties while in office — that the Secret Service had to sign a ongoing contract with Golf Cart & Utility Distributors, a Florida cart rental company, which now amounts to $69,430.
The carts seem to be some kind of necessity, given Trump’s distaste for exerting any sort of physical force. In May, The New Yorker reported that “other than golf, [Trump] considers exercise misguided, arguing that a person, like a battery, is born with a finite amount of energy.” It seems that Trump now considers walking too strenuous — he even thinks “rallies are a form of exercise,” according to Axios.
At $144,975, government expenditures on golf carts for the president are more than double the $66,000 remaining in the dwindling National Public Health Emergency Fund, the war chest the administration will be using in its fight against the opioid epidemic. As well, the outlay for the vehicles is more than twice the $51,220 average salary of a civil servant or the $59,427.50 starting pay of a Secret Service member.
Matter of fact, with what America spent on Trump’s golf carts, the government could have bought 54,095 public school lunches for hungry children or provided 14 homeless people with housing and job services.
Members of the Trump administration famously have a penchant for spending on things that benefit themselves more than the country. His cabinet members have been caught using private jets for short travel distances and to go on vacation.
Trump himself loves to fly back and forth from Washington down to his Florida luxury golf club. According to an NBC tracker, Trump has spent 103 of his 314 days in office at self-owned properties. In total, the president has spent $10 million on his family travel.
What’s most concerning, however, are the ways in which the Trump family may profit off of these jaunts. Each time Trump travels to one of his properties, his Secret Service protection must rent out hotel rooms, office space and, more often than not, the aforementioned golf carts. Much of that money, including the $63,000 paid for services at Mar-a-Lago earlier this year, goes right back into Trump family pockets.
Back in August, an amendment was introduced to an appropriations bill concerning the 2018 tax plan which would bar the Secret Service from spending money on entities owned by a president or their family.
Until that amendment is signed into law — which appears unlikely — it seems Trump will keep on riding. After all, walking is for losers.