Judicial Watch wouldn’t be a credible watchdog group if we stopped asking questions depending on who is in office. We are a go-to source for information about what politicians are up to — including on where they are traveling and the associated costs for put upon taxpayers.
As part of this accountability mission, we released records from the Department of the Air Force in response to Freedom of Information Act Request (FOIA) requests that show President Trump’s flights to Mar-a-Lago (in Palm Beach, Fla.) for two weekends — in February and March — cost $1,281,420.00.
According to the Air Force documents, the cost to operate Air Force One is $142,380 per hour. The Air Force records show a total of nine hours for trips from Feb. 3 to 6 and March 3 to 6. The latter trip involved a stop in Orlando, Fla. where Trump met Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to tour a private Catholic school in support of school vouchers.
On February 3 to 6, Air Force One traveled 4.7 hours of flight time @ $142,380 per hour for a total of $669,186.
In March, Air Force One flew 4.3 hours at $142,380 per hour for a total of $612,234, which includes the jaunt to Orlando, an additional half-hour of flight costs.
The Secret Service hasn’t responded to Judicial Watch’s request for records about this or any other trip by President Trump and other administration VIPs. Other trip cost information requests to the Air Force also remain pending.
From 2009, to the end of former President Obama’s term, Judicial Watch tracked President Obama’s travel, resulting in a tabulation of at least $96,938,882.51 in taxpayer dollars for Obama family travel during his eight years in office. In fact, we’re still waiting on some of Obama’s travel numbers.
We’re pleased that the Air Force finally gave us some of the numbers for President Trump’s travel. We’re preparing to go to court to get a full accounting of President Trump’s controversial trips.
Judicial Watch tracked some of the costs of President Obama’s unnecessary travel and we’re not closing up shop with a new administration.
Last weekend, President Trump traveled to one of his homes in New Jersey and, seemingly responding to Judicial Watch's disclosures, highlighted in a tweet how going to stay in New Jersey is cheaper for taxpayers than visiting his home in mid-town Manhattan.
It is good that, unlike the prior Oval Office occupant, he is at least showing some sensitivity on this issue and taking our advice to consider the taxpayer impact of any unnecessary travel.
Tom Fitton is the president of Judicial Watch. He is a nationally recognized expert on government corruption. A former talk radio and television host and analyst, Tom is well known across the country as a national spokesperson for the conservative cause. He has been quoted in Time, Vanity Fair, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and most every other major newspaper in the country. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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