Warm Southern Breeze

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GAO Report: Trump’$ Travel Co$t$ On Taxpayer Dime

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, February 8, 2019

Presidential Travel: 
Secret Service and DOD Need to Ensure That Expenditure Reports Are Prepared and Submitted to Congress 

GAO-19-178,  Published: Jan 17, 2019. Publicly Released: Feb 5, 2019.


We were asked to examine the cost of 4 trips to the Mar-a-Lago resort by the President and 3 international trips by Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump between January and March 2017.

We estimate that

federal agencies spent about $13.6 million for the Mar-a-Lago trips. The Departments of Defense and Homeland Security incurred most of the costs—about $8.5 million and $5.1 million, respectively. This excludes certain classified cost information.

the Secret Service spent about $396,000 protecting the President’s sons and their spouses on 3 international trips.

We recommended that agencies comply with reporting requirements for protection costs.

Presidential Limousine Loaded for Transport

What GAO Found

GAO estimated that federal agencies incurred costs of about $13.6 million for the President’s four trips to Mar-a-Lago from February 3 through March 5, 2017. This estimate consisted of approximately $10.6 million for operating costs of government aircraft and boats and $3 million for temporary duty costs of government personnel supporting the President’s travel, including transportation, lodging, and meals and incidental expenses. These figures do not include certain classified cost information or the salaries and benefits of government personnel traveling with the President because, salaries and benefits would be paid regardless of whether the President was traveling.

Estimated Costs Incurred by Federal Agencies in Support of the President’s Four Trips to Mar-a-Lago from February 3 – March 5, 2017 (dollars in thousands)

Why GAO Did This Study

The Secret Service is responsible for protecting the President and his family, including adult children when they travel. The Secret Service can request assistance in its mission from other agencies, such as DOD and the Coast Guard. When the President travels, he must fly on DOD aircraft.

GAO was asked to review the travel- related costs for four trips that the President took to Mar-a-Lago and three trips that the President’s adult children made to certain overseas destinations. This report examines (1) the costs incurred by federal agencies associated with the President’s travel on selected trips to Mar-a-Lago, (2) the costs incurred by federal agencies associated with certain overseas trips taken by Donald Trump, Jr. and Eric Trump, and (3) the extent to which the Coast Guard, the Secret Service, and DOD have reported their costs pursuant to the Presidential Protection Assistance Act of 1976. GAO analyzed agency cost data in connection with the President’s travel to Mar-a-Lago and the President’s adult children’s trips to certain overseas locations. GAO also reviewed the law, agency guidance, and semiannual reports related to the Presidential Protection Assistance Act of 1976.

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