Palm Beach County officials are considering a special tax on Donald Trump to pay for all the costs he incurs on his weekend getaways to Mar-a-Lago.
Donald Trump’s weekend jaunts — his latest visit will be his fifth such trip since taking the oath of office — to his Florida property, Mar-a-Lago, are taxing resources for the county of Palm Beach. So one official there is proposing a tax on Trump in order to pay the bills.
Palm Beach County Commissioner Dave Kerner says that the measure would force Trump to cover the millions that have been spent in order to manage the roadways and beef up security whenever he is in town. Kerner told the Palm Beach Post, “We’re getting to the point where he’s governing from here.”
The fee would be specifically tied to the value of any “special benefit” the county has provided to the owner of Mar-a-Lago, which is, of course, Trump.
Previously, Sheriff Ric Bradshaw estimated that the costs of Trump’s visit up until mid-February were $1.4 million. Another estimate from the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office said Trump’s three trips in February and one in early March had cost $570,000, not including overtime for police officials.
Since being sworn in as president, Trump has spent a majority of his weekends jetting down to Florida to stay at his property, using the presidential office to advertise the private membership club, while also conducting official business in an insecure environment.
Despite holding a conference call with officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Secret Service, the Congressional Budget Office, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the county has been unable to get a commitment to reimburse taxpayers for the money that has to be spent for each Trump trip.
Bradshaw told the paper that the county is being forced to make these outlays because, “I cannot just tell the Secret Service or someone else that’s coming who could be in danger that I’m not going to provide the protection. It’s a danger to the public. I can’t allow the roadways to become clogged and dysfunctional. I have a responsibility to you, the public, to make sure this thing is handled correctly.”
Trump’s trips are also impacting business at the local airport, which has to effectively be shut down every time he flies in, due to federally mandated travel restrictions.
After years of complaining about President Obama going golfing, Trump has turned nearly every weekend of his presidency into a vacation retreat. And he has done so on the backs of federal taxpayers and local taxpayers in Florida.
If he really is the billionaire he claims to be, he can pay for his own trips without batting an eye — but he is more than happy to have the rest of us finance his down time.