It turns out all those trips to Mar-a-Lago and various Trump golf courses have paid off big time for President Trump. The U.S. Office of Government Ethics released filings on Friday that indicate frequenting his favorite hangouts has netted the President tens of millions of dollars, while the properties he owns but doesn’t visit as often have had more modest incomes, or no boost at all over 2016 profits. But that’s just a small fraction of the President’s overall income, some of which is causing a stir on Capitol Hill.
The 98-page financial disclosure Trump voluntarily filed shows total income of at least $596.3 million last year and in the first quarter of 2017. That is just Trump’s personal income, separate from the profits and losses of the Trump Organization, though he does still hold a financial interest in the company. It also doesn’t address what he paid in taxes according to The Atlantic, as he still refuses to make his tax returns public. Politico notes that some of the income could be from Trump selling his stocks after winning the election, a standard practice for sitting presidents.
Trumps visits to Florida have raised eyebrows, especially given past criticisms he made of President Obama’s occasional golf trips and family vacations. But the profit leaps make eyebrows dance in a different way, trying to hop over the huge numbers the president is turning in profits. Over $37 million of his income came from Mar-a-Lago, and another $20 million rolled in from the Trump National Golf Club. This doesn’t count other profit powerhouses like the the Trump International Hotel in Washington, which brought in another $20 million.
To put it in perspective, Mar-a-Lago and the Jupiter resort alone earned close to the $60 million dollars the Secret Service requested be added to their budget last December. The Secret Service asked for the increase in anticipation of how much extra Trump’s security would cost with trips to Mar-a-Lago and Melania Trump’s insistence on staying at the Trump Tower in New York City. $60 million is also how much the Strategic Climate Fund cost, and is just under the $70 million Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund.
But as reported, this is not new for a president. Earlier this year, Forbes tallied up the Obamas’ income in the 12 years since Barack first joined the Senate in 2005. Factoring in Michelle’s FLOTUS’ income, it comes to a cool $20.5 million, or almost $2 million a year. That includes $6.8 million in sales from his book Dreams From My Father and $8.8 million for The Audacity of Hope over that span of time. Trump’s book sales soared, too, during the campaign and since the inauguration, netting him somewhere in the $100,000 to $1,000,000 range this year for The Art of the Deal. The controversial part that is distinctive for Trump is how he’s leveraging his presidency to push profits at his businesses.
Last week, 200 Congressional Democrats sued Donald Trump over potential violations of the emoluments clause of The Constitution, especially concerning foreign payments from lobbying groups in Saudi Arabia and China to the Trump Organization. There’s another suit filed by D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh last week on Trump’s emoluments compliance. Back in March a federal agency found no violation in the management of the Trump International Hotel, although its popularity with Washington power players and foreign dignitaries has only continued to grow. But unless one of those suits finds actual fault, Trump’s profits can continue to roll.