Hypocrite: a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion; a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.
“Can you believe that, with all of the problems and difficulties facing the U.S., President Obama spent the day playing golf.” – Donald Trump, 13 October 2014
“The habitual vacationer, @BarackObama, is now in Hawaii. This vacation is costing taxpayers $4 million.” – Donald Trump, 27 December 2011
“Why did @BarackObama and his family travel separately to Martha’s Vineyard? They love to extravagantly spend on the taxpayers’ dime.” – Donald Trump, 26 August 2011
And recent headlines:
Trump to spend 7th consecutive weekend at Trump-branded property, at enormous cost to taxpayers. Austerity for us, regular Florida vacations for the president. – Think Progress, 18 March 2017
Trump weekend trip to Florida could cost taxpayers $3M: report. – The Hill, 03 March 2017
Eric Trump’s business trip to Uruguay cost taxpayers $97,830 in hotel bills. – The Washington Post, 04 February 2017
The typical work week in the U.S. is five days. The other two days are theoretically for ‘rest and relaxation’, though the majority of us will tell you that they are used for such things as running errands, catching up on chores at home, paying bills, etc. At any rate, being the leader of a nation is stressful work, and I would agree that they deserve some time off, family time, relaxing time, whatever. BUT … a trip to Florida on somebody else’s dime, every single weekend? And after criticizing his predecessor for taking an average of 2.2 vacation days per month, Trump has, in just two months, averaged 7 days per month. A trip every weekend to his estate in Florida … at taxpayer expense. This from the man who said “I would not be a president who took vacations. I would not be a president that takes time off.” Yet every weekend except the first weekend after the inauguration, he has flown our airplane, Air Force One, to his resort in Florida, and played golf, attended social functions, eaten meals that each cost more than most of us spend on groceries for a month, and at a high cost to We The People. Every weekend.
In the past, it has not been considered necessary to set a limit on the number of vacation days a president has, for we have been able to trust past presidents to use good judgment. However, the time may have come to either put a limit on the number of days, or a cap on the amount of personal expenses that We The People are willing to pay. Before taking office, Trump said he would not take his salary. Not a particularly magnanimous gesture, as he later claimed that at the end of the year he would donate it to charity. First, this means that he is taking his monthly pay packets, presumably investing them and garnering investment income throughout the year. Secondly, we have already seen how unreliable his promises of ‘donating to charity’ are … yet another hypocrisy. So his claim to refuse his salary is a mockery in light of all the extra costs with which he is burdening the taxpayers to ensure his own pleasure.
Of equal, or perhaps even greater concern is the third headline. Trump refused, before taking office, to divest himself of his business interests, which, though not required, would have gone a long way to deflect conflict of interest concerns. Now, however, taxpayer dollars are being used in Trump’s businesses, as whenever either of his sons make a business trip, the Secret Service must go along, thus creating travel, hotel and meal expenses. These should, in my book, be expenses to Trump’s business, not to the U.S. taxpayers! Understandably, the immediate family of the president receives the protection of the U.S. Secret Service … I do not dispute that. However, I think there is a slippery slope here regarding at whose expense this protection should occur. If it is a business trip, it is benefiting Donald’s and his son’s business, but is of no benefit whatsoever to the taxpayers or to the nation as a whole, so why should the protection of the Secret Service not be charged back to the Trump business? There is simply too much wiggle room here … to much potential for abuse. To me, this reeks of conflict of interest.
I find all of this especially disturbing in light of the 2018 budget that Trump submitted to Congress on Thursday, cutting funding for almost every single program designed to help people, and increasing the military budget unnecessarily. No more environmental research and far fewer regulations against polluting waterways and air. Cuts to education. Extreme cuts to healthcare, housing, public assistance. But yet his conscience will allow him to spend millions every week to go to Florida to play golf. One must wonder if the ‘man’ actually has a conscience … I have concluded that quite possibly he was born with a silver spoon in lieu of a conscience.
And lastly, there is the additional cost for Melania and son to continue to reside in Trump Towers in New York while young Barron finishes the school year. The estimate of costs for Secret Service protections are somewhat unclear, but most estimates put it at around $300,000 … per day. How many of my readers even make $300,000 a year??? I hesitate to complain too much about this one, because I have the greatest empathy for the children of public figures who often are forced at a young age to endure public scrutiny, and I understand Melania’s desire to protect her son. But … on the other hand I do not think that supporting Melania and Barron’s life of luxury is more important than feeding the poor and elderly throughout the nation, or providing healthcare. So, it still seems to me a clear abuse of power and an expense that this nation can ill afford.
It would seem that after the well-advertised budget cuts presented earlier this week, many who voted for Trump would be experiencing the first pang of regret. Some are … H tells me that he overheard a conversation the other day whereby a man said he voted for Trump but is now regretting it. However I am not seeing any large-scale sign of this, and I find it surprising, since many of the programs that Trump calls for cutting out entirely or trimming to bare bones, are the very ones that many of his supporters rely heavily on. I am uncertain if they simply do not understand what this will mean for them, or if they are still under the influence of whatever substance they took to make voting for Trump palatable.