If you've ever wondered how much it costs taxpayers to protect Donald Trump and his family from harm, look no further than the trove of Secret Service purchase orders that CBS News recently obtained. The documents detail how much money was spent on various initiatives needed to keep Trump safe, and according to one of them, the golf cart rentals for Trump's Secret Service team have cost taxpayers over $35,000 so far.
Trump has been in office for less than three months, which means the Secret Service is spending an average of $404 per day to pay for the golf carts required to protect him. If the president continues to hit the courses at the same rate he is now (and there's no reason to believe he won't), taxpayers will be on the hook for around $589,840 in golf cart rental charges by the time he finishes his first term, if indeed he finishes his first term.
That's a lot of money — not for Trump, maybe, and certainly not compared to the rest of the federal government's budget. But $589,840 could, for instance, provide school meals to 1,000 impoverished children for a year, according to the World Food Programme. It could provide a year's worth of housing and job training for 58 homeless people, according to a study by Creative Housing Solutions, or 20 years worth of life-saving drugs for a cancer patient. (Alternatively, that money could be spent renting golf carts.)
Still, half a million bucks is a drop in the bucket for the federal government, so perhaps we shouldn't be so hard on Trump.
Except, yes, we should, because Trump was exceedingly critical of President Obama's golfing habit. In 2014, he grumbled on Twitter that "we pay for his golf." In another tweet, he expressed outrage that "with all of the problems and difficulties facing the U.S., President Obama spent the day playing golf." During the campaign, he proclaimed at a rally in Massachusetts that "Obama ought to get off the golf course."
Of course, Trump has never hid the fact that he himself is a golfer. Indeed, he owns several golf courses of his own. But during the campaign, he promised that if elected president, he wouldn't be playing golf anymore.
"I'm gonna be working for you, I'm not gonna have time to play golf," Trump said at Virginia campaign stop in 2016. "Believe me." According to The New York Times, however, Trump has golfed on 19 separate occasions since becoming president (Obama, at this point in his presidency, had not yet gone golfing a single time).
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer defended his boss' golf habits, explaining at a press conference that "on a couple of occasions, he's actually conducted meetings" on the golf course, and that "just because he heads there, doesn't mean that [golf] is what's happening."