Eric and Donald Trump Jr. cost taxpayers $250 000 in one month of travel last year in Dubai.
The information was gathered by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) using Secret Service documents that the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requested.
This article first appeared in Salon.
Tracking and monitoring presidential travel expenses has become more commonplace since Bill Clinton’s presidency. As traveling abroad for business trips and meetings increased with the advances in air travel, presidents and their families came under increased public scrutiny for the cost of their travel at taxpayer expense.
Although the purpose of the trip was for the Trump family business — with money spent primarily on hotels, airfare — Secret Service protection for President Donald Trump's adult sons comes at a cost for taxpayers. That same month, Eric Trump traveled to the Dominican Republic to potentially relaunch a failed Trump-branded resort project. The FOIA documents show that around $20 000 was spent on airfare, hotel rooms, auto rental and additional expenses.
The Trump family's spending is on track to be the highest for any family in the White House to date. In the president's first 80 days in office he spent over $20 million when visiting his private club in Florida. President Trump is projected to quickly outspend Obama in travel in his first four years of his presidency.
President Trump has often negatively compared President Obama and his families' expenses to his presidential predecessors in order to degrade Obama's public image.
He tweeted dozens of times on Obama's travel, often saying, "President Barack Obama's vacation is costing taxpayers millions of dollars — unbelievable!" Politico reports.
While trips have been recording since Eisenhower, travel comparisons between President George W. Bush, President Clinton and President Obama show that Obama took 45 trips abroad, two more than Bush and two fewer than Clinton. That totals to Obama spending 185 days abroad, which is second to Clinton’s 206 days abroad.
However, it wasn't only Obama who drew condemnation.
When Michelle Obama was first lady, her travel expenses drew scorn from her conservative pundits, boasting she traveled more than the previous first lady’s – Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush. Her rivals personally attacked her annual family ski trips to Aspen, which cost around $88 thousand per trip, to smear her character. But the majority of her trips abroad were in support of her Let Girls Learn program, which began in 2015, Washington Post reports.
In actuality, Hillary Clinton holds the record for trips, country visits and days spent abroad, with Laura Bush following closely behind.
But in the three-month tenure of President Trump, first lady Melania Trump took 21 flights aboard Air Force jets that cost more than $675, 000. The Wall Street Journal reported in 2017. Before moving to the White House residence, the first lady was residing in Trump Tower, costing exponentially more with the Secret Service than previous first ladies who moved in the White House immediately. The cost of travel for Michelle Obama was $350,000 annually, which is half the amount Melania Trump traveled in those three months, Newsweek reported.