Fresh off three weeks of what the White House called a “working vacation,” President Donald Trump is out west for a trip to Arizona and Nevada before Congress returns from its August recess. The president is known to fly home late at night rather than not sleep in his bed, but this trip is the first in the U.S. in which he’ll stay overnight (as president) in a non-Trump-owned property.
We’ve seen some good reporting in recent days on the president’s trips.
The New York Times has tracked his travel since Inauguration Day, and as of Aug. 21, the newspaper reports he has spent 74 days at his own golf clubs and homes. While staying at his resorts, the president is often photographed by fellow putters on the golf course; a quick Instagram search reveals that he revels in making cameo appearances at weddings at his properties.
The visits have raised unique questions for ethics experts.
After leaving his job in July, former Office of Government Ethics chief Walter Schaub told CBS News that “there’s an appearance that the [Trump] businesses are profiting from his occupying the presidency.”
In addition, a USA Today report suggests Trump’s frequent travel is putting a burden on the Secret Service, with more than 1,000 agents already maxxed out on their federally-mandated salary caps. This is partly due to the unprecedented 42 people under Secret Service protection.
By comparison, there were 31 Secret Service protectees in the Obama administration. The agency cites the extensive Trump family and the number of Trump properties as the reason for increased protection. Since Inauguration Day, the President has spent 28 days at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, 25 at Mar-a-Lago — which he dubbed the “Winter White House” — in Palm Beach, Florida, and 15 days at his golf club in Sterling, Virginia.
Trump’s rally Tuesday in Phoenix will be his 17th “Make America Great” rally since he won the election in November. There are no signs that he plans to slow down his travel schedule: He is set to visit a slew of states this fall for fundraising events.
This article has been updated to clarify the number of people under secret service protection.