According to a new report by CNN, President Trump is not the only person who loves to frequent Mar-a-Lago and other Trump-branded properties on the taxpayers’ dime. During the first eight months of Trump’s presidency, the Department of Defense reportedly spent a whopping $140,000 at “what appears to be” Mar-a-Lago — Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, Florida — and other properties affiliated with, or owned and operated by, the Trump family business.
CNN analysts reviewed “hundreds of records” in order to determine that Defense Department officials had charged over $138,000 to the federal government during various events at Trump properties across the country:
Charges on the department-issued Visa cards, which span from Honolulu to Washington, DC, are the most recent evidence that taxpayer money flows to Trump’s company, once again emboldening critics who say these payments violate ethical norms and possibly the US Constitution.
The CNN analysis found military personnel spent more than a third of the total amount, or $58,875.69, on lodging and food at what appears to be Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida. Most of the expenses generally align with the 25 days the President spent at his Florida club from February to April.
Property of the People, “a nonprofit that advocates for greater government transparency,” provided CNN’s reporters “with more than 360 pages of travel records obtained after suing the department under the Freedom of Information Act.” The group’s co-founder, Ryan Shapiro told the outlet, “With the DoD’s… spending at Mar-a-Lago and other Trump properties, and Trump’s refusal to divest from his sprawling business empire, once again we find the President’s hand deep in the taxpayer’s pocket.” Meanwhile, a Defense Department spokesperson confirmed the records were accurate.