- President Donald Trump made a stop in Ireland after a three-day state visit in the United Kingdom.
- The president’s hasty stop drew attention when he spent time at his golf resort in Doonbeg, which is his latest trip to one of his golf properties.
- Though Trump insisted the choice of location at the resort was “convenient,” his stay at the resort prompted ethics concerns and his travel back and forth to France added hundreds of miles to his trip.
- Presidential travel comes with some inherent steep costs, but Trump’s stop in Ireland racked up a $3-million cherry on top of his expensive golf trip track record.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
President Donald Trump spent two nights in Ireland after a three-day state visit to the United Kingdom.
The president’s hasty stop drew attention when he refused to visit Dublin, the country’s capital, insisting he would stay at his golf resort in Doonbeg.
The stop was the latest in Trump’s regular visits to his golf courses, which have sparked ethics concerns since he took office for their exorbitant cost to taxpayers and promotion of his brand.
A report released by the Government Accountability Office in February says four trips in 2017 to Trump’s private club Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida cost taxpayers $13.6 million, or approximately $3.4 million each.
Much of a president’s travel costs come from the dozens of White House staffers who accompany the trip, and that number multiplies for international trips.
The president’s trips can cost taxpayers millions of dollars because of the use of Air Force One and the expenses of the Secret Service, the Air Force, local sheriff’s departments, the Coast Guard and other agencies.
A report from the Huffington Post picked apart Trump’s travel costs on the quick trip, see why his choice of itinerary raised eyebrows.
Trump’s trips came with some built-in travel costs, including $206,000 an hour to operate the Boeing plane known as Air Force One.
The Huffington Post found the State Department had filed for contracts weeks ahead of Trump’s travel, including $1,023,940 to rent cars and limos, $10,866 to install temporary phone lines, and $16,325 to rent golf carts for the Secret Service agents protecting Trump on the golf course.
The contracts reportedly totaled $1.5 million.
Though the costs were within the usual purchases for presidential travel measures, Trump’s insisting the trip to Doonbeg was because the resort was “convenient” was confusing because it added hundreds of miles to his travel, the Huffington Post noted.
Trump was staying in London before he traveled 370 miles to Doonbeg. His trip to Normandy meant retracing his flight 440 miles east and then flying another 440 miles west back to Ireland hours later.
Trump kept his work engagements to one meeting that was held in the Shannon Airport after Trump’s request to hold it at his golf course was denied.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar met Trump at an airport lounge after reportedly rejecting Trump’s wish for the two leaders to meet at his Doonbeg golf course.
The Irish Times reported in May that Trump was pushing for the meeting to be held at his course, but Irish officials were “reluctant” to meet there.
Trump was asked by a reporter on the trip if the purpose of his Ireland trip was to promote his golf course, which, according to the Irish Times, has never made a profit. Trump dismissed the connection.
“I really wanted to do this stop in Ireland,” Trump said. “It was very important to me because of the relationship I have with the people and with your prime minister.”
Ireland’s Minister of State Pat Breen told the Irish Times that Trump discussed golf and his resort at their meeting.
“We talked about the important role that the resort in Doonbeg plays in local economy,” Breen said of meeting Trump. “He said he was looking forward to playing a round of golf.”
Trump’s not the first president to run up a $3 million bill on a quick trip.
In October 2016, the Government Accountability Office released a report that tracked a three-day golf and work trip taken by then-President Barack Obama to Chicago and Florida and found it cost $3.6 million.
The trip reportedly racked up costs for operating Air Force One and Marine One in addition to transportation, lodging, and meals for agents from departments including the Coast Guard and the Secret Service.
Such trips act as lightning rods for lawmakers, usually from the other party, to criticize a president’s spending.
Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming said at the time that Obama displayed “such little disregard for the taxpayer that he spent millions of dollars to play golf with Tiger Woods.”
In Trump’s case, it’s not just the price tag that has watchdog groups concerned. It’s the frequency of his stops and the gray area between work and personal trips.
The report says that Trump’s jaunt in Ireland brought the total costs of his golf trips to $105.8 million.
Trump visited his golf clubs more than 150 times in his first official year in office, and at least 77 times in his second year in office, according to analysis from NBC News.
Though both figures are difficult to pin down because exact numbers and travel details aren’t required for public release, The Huffington Post said Trump’s golf tab totals nearly $106 million since he took office in early 2017.
Trump’s tendency to host world leaders at his club and his vested interest in the success of the properties complicates his connections to the resorts. The connection leads to unfair publicity opportunities and incidents like the Doonbeg course posting promotional videos of the president teeing off and arriving in the Marine One helicopter only to delete them after backlash from publications and an ethics watchdog.
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) June 7, 2019