One of the lesser scandals of the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency was the seeming overuse of private planes by cabinet members. The phenomena was headlined by former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, who resigned after having his private jet use pointed out. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke have all been called out for using private planes as well. As it turns out, this happened in the residence section of the White House, too.
The Wall Street Journal reports that First Lady Melania Trump took 21 private flights between Trump’s inauguration and Melania and Barron officially moving into the White House after Barron’s school year concluded. The flights, which include crew-only flights to pick Melania up in New York City where she was officially living to travel elsewhere, cost over $675,000 and covered three months of travel. In comparison, when Michelle Obama was First Lady, she averaged about $350,000 in travel per year.
While not as opulent as Air Force One, the First Lady took most of her trips on “the military equivalents of the commercial Gulfstream V or Gulfstream 550,” which cost over $10,000 an hour to operate. The most expensive trip saw the military equivalent of a 757 passenger jet travel from Joint Base Andrews to New York with only the crew on board, pick up the First Lady and fly her to Florida to meet the president, and then return to Joint Base Andrews. The total cost was $106,627 for about 10 hours of work.
The cost of the First Lady’s travel since she officially moved to Washington D.C. is not yet known, but she’s notably traveled without her husband since.
(Via Wall Street Journal)