President Donald Trump’s recently announced budget slash to the arts, and services to help the homeless, poor, and elderly, to divert additional funds to the already bloated “defense” budget, could be fully covered if he gave up his frequent trips to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, and lived full-time at the White House instead, figures show.
Calculations indicate that four programs facing elimination under the new budget—which address homelessness, unemployment among people over 55 years of age, cultivating the arts, and increasing access to higher education for the poor—could be maintained simply by cutting the cost of the President’s visits to his private Mar-a-Lago resort over the course of the next four years of his presidency. President Trump’s trips to Mar-a-Lago reportedly “cost taxpayers $3 million” each time.
The programs facing elimination in President Trump’s proposed budget include:
- the National Endowment for the Arts, which promotes and fosters participation in the arts ($152 million)
- the US Interagency Council on Homelessness, an independent agency that coordinates the federal government’s efforts in tackling and reducing homelessness ($4 million)
- the Senior Community Service Employment Program, which has assisted in finding jobs for over a million Americans aged 55 and older ($434 million)
- the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, which provides scholarships and fellowships in the humanities and social sciences to the underprivileged ($11 million)
The entire cost of these four social programs, which provide crucial aid to millions of Americans in need, amounts to a total of $597 million—just $3 million (or the price of a single Mar-a-Lago trip) less than the estimated $600 million cost to taxpayers in security arrangements for President Trump’s frequent Mar-a-Lago visits over the entirety of his four-year term. These services are only a handful among hundreds of other programs and agencies proposed to be cut in order to accommodate the $54 billion increase in “defense” spending.
Tbe $1.15 trillion budget—titled ‘America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again’—also detailed plans to slash funding for Meals on Wheels, a program that provides meals to the poor, elderly, and veterans, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), research on climate change, and health care and nutrition programs for low-income women and children.
CBS News reported that the President has spent every weekend of his first 33 days in office at his luxurious Palm Beach, Florida, estate—for which security arrangements have been estimated to cost taxpayers $10 million. American taxpayers must foot the bill of more than $3 million each time the President travels to Mar-a-Lago, rather than remaining at the official presidential residence of the White House—an exorbitant sum of $600 million over four years.
A mere days after announcing the new budget proposals, President Trump is scheduled to return to his Mar-a-Lago resort again this weekend, marking his fifth weekend to be spent down at the Florida estate out of the nine weekends to date he will have served of his term in the White House.
According to the Palm Beach Post, from the moment President Trump departed from Palm Beach International Airport at around 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 5, 2017, President Trump had spent nearly 242 of the 1,060 hours of his presidency thus far at his Palm Beach estate — or 22.8 percent of his entire time in office. A portion of these 242 hours was spent on at least eight apparent golf outings, though the White House seldom confirms whether or not the President is playing.
President Trump’s frequent visits to his Mar-a-Lago resort stand in stark contrast to Candidate Trump’s pledges throughout his presidential campaign. In 2015, he told a reporter from The Hill:
“I would rarely leave the White House because there’s so much work to be done. I would not be a president who took vacations.
I would not be a president that takes time off… You don’t have time to take time off.”
He added, “I would live in the White House because it’s the appropriate thing to do. I would work. And I would make the country great again. That’s what you have to do.”
The President’s frequent vacations also seem to contradict his previous frequent attacks on President Barack Obama, whom Republicans condemned for flying to Palm Beach during his presidency.
“The habitual vacationer, Barack Obama, is now in Hawaii. This vacation is costing taxpayers $4 million+++ while there is 20% unemployment,” Donald Trump posted on Twitter back in December 2011—when the unemployment rate was actually 8.5%.
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