Five years is a long time—a veritable eternity in the volatile U.S. political landscape—and how far we have come since June 13, 2012, exactly five years ago Tuesday, when Donald Trump tweeted about then–Vice President Joe Biden's travel costs, claiming they were a burden to taxpayers.
"Biden @VP Spends $1 Million Annually for Weekend Trips," Trump tweeted at the time, linking out a Newsmax story. The article noted that Biden was being shuttled to and from his home state of Delaware on the taxpayer's dime despite the vice president being tasked with "[rooting] out wasteful government spending." Newsmax calculated, as Trump's tweet suggested, that taxpayers were forking over about $1 million annually to shuttle Biden around.
Now, Biden's costs seem downright pedestrian when compared with the amount Trump has required of the taxpayer in his nearly five months in the White House.
Air Force records obtained by the conservative group Judicial Watch show that just the flights for two trips to Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida cost more than $1.2 million.
Through his first 100 days, Trump spent one-quarter of his time in Florida, costing taxpayers some $7 million, according to Judicial Watch. Exact details of Trump's total travel costs remain somewhat murky until official documents trickle out, but prior rough estimates suggested that in just a few months Trump may have cost taxpayers about one-third of what President Barack Obama cost through eight years in office.
As a private citizen, Trump often complained about Obama taking time off or playing golf. "President Obama has a major meeting on the N.Y.C. Ebola outbreak, with people flying in from all over the country, but decided to play golf!" he tweeted in 2014.
Democratic lawmakers didn't seem to forget that. "For someone who complained about President Obama traveling a lot, he's going to supersede President Obama's travel, all eight years [of it], within a year, which is just absolutely ridiculous," Arizona Representative Ruben Gallego told NPR in April.
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