President Trump’s weekend sojourns to the “Southern White House” at Mar-a-Lago have attracted considerable media attention thus far. The same press corps which never seemed to make a big deal out of Barack Obama’s record-setting golf excursions has suddenly taken a keen interest in what the leader of the free world does with his weekends. But it’s not just the media that’s getting involved in the story. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Department has been raising concerns over not only the flood of high-security traffic but the costs they are incurring trying to keep up with all the comings and goings. (Tampa Bay Times)
Donald Trump’s visits to his South Florida estate since he was elected president have cost the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Department $1.5 million in overtime costs.
Sheriff Ric Bradshaw is confident the money his department has spent while assisting the Secret Service will be reimbursed by the federal government. “I do hope he is correct,” said Palm Beach County Administrator Verdenia Baker.
The county sent letters to federal officials in December seeking reimbursement for the overtime security costs from Trump’s five-day visit to the estate called Mar-a-lago in November, the Palm Beach Post reported Tuesday.
Those costs were originally estimated at $250,000, but Bradshaw said the total will be closer to $300,000. Based on the revised number, the sheriff said told the newspaper the security costs are amounting to about $60,000 a day during Trump’s visits to the county,
In terms of Trump hitting the links, even I have to wonder what he’s thinking right now. It’s not that presidents don’t deserve some time off and a bit of relaxation, or in the case of the recent visit by the Japanese delegation, a cordial environment for some fairway diplomacy. But after criticizing Barack Obama so heavily for using his time in office to drop his handicap several points, the optics of spending your first two weekends at a golf resort are certainly questionable.
The questions being raised by the local sheriff are a different matter. Covering this sort of visit and keeping the area secure is no doubt an expensive proposition. Admittedly, $1.5 million in overtime for two weekends sounds a bit on the high side to me but it is what it is. The real issue here is whether or not the locals are going to get stuck with the bill. The answer that seems to be a resounding no, and despite the title of the linked article, the sheriff is actually already saying that he expects his office to be reimbursed by the Secret Service. I’m fairly sure that’s pretty much how it always works.
In fact, this is been going on since before Donald Trump was even sworn into office. Anybody recall this temper tantrum thrown by the mayor of the Big Apple back in December?
New York City on Monday formally asked that the federal government reimburse it for the cost of providing security for President-elect Donald J. Trump at his New York home and offices, a figure that officials estimated would reach $35 million by the time of Mr. Trump’s inauguration on Jan 20.
The $35 million figure is based on roughly $500,000 a day in security costs for the period from the presidential election through Inauguration Day, when Mr. Trump, a Republican, is expected to move to Washington, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference on Monday that was unrelated to the request.
In the end the federal government ends up shouldering all of these costs which can be reasonably billed. (And by “federal government” I of course mean you, the taxpayer.) The same will no doubt happen with Palm Beach County. In the meantime, they may as well enjoy the extra traffic and additional tourist dollars which generally accrue from having a circus of this national magnitude come to town on a regular basis.