WASHINGTON ― The Secret Service has signed a $174,195 contract to rent golf carts for use at President Donald Trump’s golf course near his Palm Beach, Florida, resort through May 2021 and has extended a separate contract to rent carts at his Northern Virginia course for $7,500.
The new spending comes as Trump returns to his Doral course, next to the Miami airport, on Thursday evening ― a visit that drives his total golf costs to $148 million in taxpayer dollars during his nearly 45 months in office. Of that, some $941,000 alone has gone to golf cart rental for the Secret Service agents who must protect him. The vast majority, though, represents the cost of flying Air Force One and the assorted cargo planes that transport the vehicles in his motorcade.
Trump’s stay at Doral through Friday morning ― which will send at least several thousand taxpayer dollars into his own cash registers ― will raise to 279 the number of days he has spent at one of his own courses since becoming president, despite having promised during his last campaign that he would not have any time to golf if he won.
“I just want to stay in the White House and work my ass off,” he said at a February 2016 rally.
Trump is hosting a fundraiser for his campaign and the Republican National Committee on Thursday evening prior to participating in an NBC televised town hall event in downtown Miami. The reception, with tickets costing as much as $100,000 per couple, will allow Trump to funnel tens of thousands of donor dollars into his own pocket through room rental and catering fees.
The agreement to rent carts from Sunshine Golf Cars in Delray Beach, Florida, was finalized on Sept. 22 and runs through May 31, 2021. Capitol Golf Cars, meanwhile, received a contract extension to provide carts at Trump’s golf course in Sterling, Virginia, for $7,500 on Sept. 23 and also got a $1,000 payment on June 3.
The Secret Service, citing its policy not to discuss measures to protect the president or others in its care, declined to comment.
However, an official familiar with the contracts said the South Florida one can be canceled at any time, in the event Trump loses and is no longer president come Jan. 20, 2021. The $7,500 to Capitol Golf Cars was for one additional month of rentals, the official said, while the earlier $1,000 was to repair one cart that was damaged when agents using it to secure a position in some woods at the golf course hit a log or tree.
Although he frequently criticized predecessor Barack Obama for playing too much golf, Trump has played on 2½ times as many days as Obama did through the same point in his first term, and Trump’s golf outings have cost in total more than four times as much as Obama’s. The significantly higher expenses are due to Trump’s insistence on playing at his own resorts, while Obama played most of his rounds at military bases within short motorcade rides of the White House.