Taxpayers hit with $3.4 million bill for Trump’s members-only Super Bowl party at Mar-a-Lago: report

Taxpayers have now spent more than $130 million on Trump's frequent golf trips, according to a HuffPost analysis

By Igor Derysh

Senior News Editor

Published February 3, 2020 11:52AM (EST)


Taxpayers paid millions for President Donald Trump to attend a members-only Super Bowl party at his Palm Beach golf resort in Florida. 

Trump's official schedule listed him at a members-only "Super Bowl LIV watch party" at his Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach on Sunday while spending the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort. The trip cost taxpayers about $3.4 million, according to a HuffPost analysis that included the costs of his Air Force transportation, Coast Guard patrols, Secret Service protection and other expenses detailed in a 2019 Government Accountability Office report on the president's earlier visits to the property.

"He could have saved money by chartering a plane and flying club members to watch the game at the White House," Robert Weissman, the head of the progressive watchdog group Public Citizen, told HuffPost.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham argued to HuffPost that the report was "ridiculous," "false" and "just more left-wing media bias."

"The president never stops working, and that includes when he is at the Winter White House," she said, even though Trump tweeted a photo of himself golfing a day earlier.

Grisham's "Winter White House" remark was in reference to Mar-a-Lago, where Trump has spent 109 days since taking office, according to NBC News.

Trump's frequent golf trips have cost taxpayers more than $130 million, according to HuffPost's analysis, millions of which have gone to his own businesses.

Government watchdog groups have strongly criticized Trump's habit of visiting his own properties after he refused to divest from his businesses when he won the election.

"When Donald Trump announced that he would break decades of precedent and hold onto his business, many were afraid it was to find ways to keep making money on the side of his work as president," Jordan Libowitz, a spokesman for the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, told HuffPost. "Turns out the presidency is more like a thing he does on the side to help make money for his business."

Former Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., who is running against Trump in the Republican primaries, told the outlet that Trump taking constant golf trips after he spent years criticizing former President Barack Obama for golfing showed that he was a "con man."

"Trump is and always has been a con man. In 2016, he said that unlike Obama, he'd never golf, and he'd never take personal trips outside the White House," he said. "In addition, Trump is using taxpayer money to personally enrich himself because virtually all of his travel is to Trump properties. That is the swamp Trump pledged to drain. Trump is the swamp."

Trump later drew mockery when he wrongly praised Kansas following the Kansas City Chiefs' Super Bowl win, even though the Chiefs are based in Missouri.

"It's Missouri you stone cold idiot," former Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo, tweeted.

"Trump is going to release a map tomorrow with Kansas City in Kansas isn't he?" columnist Stephen Miller joked.

"I used to think the Kansas City Chiefs played in Kansas," sportswriter J.A. Adande added. "But I was like 12 years old and not the president of the United States."

By Igor Derysh

Igor Derysh is Salon's senior news editor. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald and Baltimore Sun.

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Brief Claire Mccaskill Donald Trump Kansas City Chief Mar-a-lago Politics Stephanie Grisham Super Bowl