Earlier this week, it was reported that President Joe Biden’s trips home to Delaware have cost taxpayers $11 million for the use of Air Force One and/or Marine One – while there were additional costs going to local police and EMS.
Comments from some readers asked why there wasn’t a comparison to other past occupants of the Oval Office, notably former President Donald Trump. In truth, the reason is that the past article was simply to look at the ongoing costs of Biden’s frequent trips to Delaware – and to note too that the current president avoids staying in Washington any longer than necessary.
Yet, for the record, as of November 2019, Trump had visited his Mar-a-Lago residence for the 100th time over the Thanksgiving holiday. As the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) reported, Trump had visited Mar-a-Lago nearly 10 percent of all the days he had been in office to that point.
According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), each Donald Trump trip to Mar-a-Lago cost taxpayers around $1 million a day. That added up to $13.6 million just for 2017.
Yet, CREW noted too that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Trump at Mar-a-Lago for a weekend, while Chinese President Xi Jinping also visited with Trump in Florida and had dinner with the president at Mar-a-Lago. Though the trips cost taxpayer money, those were still official business events.
Biden has to date not hosted any similar events at his Delaware homes.
Donald Trump Donated His Salary… But
It was also in October 2020 that Robert Reich, author and former Labor secretary savaged the former president in online posts in which he noted that Trump would regularly brag about donating his $400,000 presidential salary, yet forget to mention that taxpayers picked up the tab for his golf trips, which cost taxpayers roughly $141 million!
Trump had reportedly visited his golf properties around 300 times by that point.
Reich had sourced data from Sophie Germain, who had tracked the president’s trips since his 2017 inauguration, and tallied the expenses that included the cost of flights, law enforcement personnel costs, and even Coast Guard protections.
What Did Past Presidents Do?
Trump and Biden are hardly the first two to ditch the White House. Yet, the truth is that leaving on weekends is a modern concept (much like weekends, which is a modern concept as well). The founding fathers would have never considered spending a weekend away as it would have taken days just to get more than a few miles away.
Advanced forms of transportation changed things considerably.
Franklin Roosevelt had traveled to his “Little White House” in Warm Springs, Georgia – which helped with his polio treatment. Dwight Eisenhower spent weekends – adding up to around a full year of his presidency – at his retreat near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Harry Truman traveled to Key West, Florida while Lyndon Johnson often went to his ranch in Texas, and Ronald Reagan to his ranch in California.
Monday to Friday Presidents!
What is still notable, however, is the volume of the travel of the two most recent occupants. It would seem both couldn’t get on the plane fast enough after calling it a day on Friday.
Biden certainly has been noted for thinking of the White House as a Monday-through-Friday kind of place, which he has seemingly viewed as little more than presidential corporate housing. Of course, very few corporate housing options come with a personal bowling alley, a movie theater, a tennis pavilion, and acres of grounds.
Yet, Trump was much the same in his dismissal of what the White House offers.
It would seem that while Donald Trump and Joe Biden have little – if anything apart from being president – in common, they could both be described as Monday-to-Friday presidents who were ready to get away when the opportunity allowed. It would be enough to make you wonder why they’re in such a fight to keep the job, other than it may seem they simply don’t want the other to have it.
It could be argued that the former presidents from Roosevelt to Obama left the White House on occasion to unwind, recharge, and then return to the Oval House ready for the next challenge.
For Biden and Trump, the White House simply isn’t good enough and it isn’t home! That could speak to the character of each man. Maybe it is time for voters to deny both of them the opportunity to return and/or remain in a house they so despise.
Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.
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