In August of 2016, Donald Trump stood before an audience in northern Virginia and made a casual, but firm promise. As president, he said, “I’m going to be working for you. I’m not going to have time to play golf.”
It’s not the most significant broken promise of Trump’s presidency, but it might be the most brazen. Trump incessantly bashed Barack Obama for golfing and repeatedly pledged that he’d be too busy cutting deals on behalf of the American people to find his way onto a course.
But Trump’s a pathological liar, so it’s little surprise that he broke this promise less than two weeks into his presidency. And now, more than two years later, he’s played golf many dozens of times and racked up a taxpayer tab of more than $100 million, according to a new analysis from HuffPost.
U.S. taxpayers have spent $81 million for the president’s two dozen trips to Florida, according to a HuffPost analysis. They spent $17 million for his 15 trips to New Jersey, another $1 million so he could visit his resort in Los Angeles and at least $3 million for his two days in Scotland last summer ― $1.3 million of which went just for rental cars for the massive entourage that accompanies a president abroad.
The $102 million total is an insignificant part of the federal budget, but it’s much more than some other budget items that Trump has complained about:
The $102 million total to date spent on Trump’s presidential golfing represents 255 times the annual presidential salary he volunteered not to take. It is more than three times the cost of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation that Trump continually complains about. It would fund for six years the Special Olympics program that Trump’s proposed budget had originally cut to save money.
The number is only growing. Trump is traveling to Ireland next month to play golf at his course in Doonbeg, a trip that HuffPost says will cost “several million dollars” all by itself.
Putting aside the shameless hypocrisy and the self-dealing (Trump almost always play golf at his own courses), there is one potential upside to Trump’s golf habit: As Robert Weissman, president of the consumer watchdog group Public Citizen, told HuffPost, “Of course, the more time he spends golfing, the less time he spends governing, the better.”