Secret Service has spent nearly $17K on golf cart rentals for Trump’s Mar-A-Lago visits
Saturday marked President Trump’s 13th visit to one of his golf courses since taking office 67 days ago, the eighth weekend in a row (out of 10 total) he’s done so. It’s unknown how many rounds he’s played in that time period — the White House is not saying, insisting the president has been doing business during those trips. The Chicago Tribune estimates that he’s swung the clubs on 12 of those 13 visits. Receipts from one recreational auto company in Miami suggest he’s played at least a few times, because the Secret Service has racked up nearly $17,000 in golf cart rental charges.
The Secret Service has spent $16k so far on golf cart rentals for Trump trips to Mar-a-Lago. pic.twitter.com/Pgje6S1LBh
— Nathaniel Meyersohn (@nmeyersohn) March 26, 2017
Nathaniel Meyersohn of CNN uncovered three separate charges from Golf Car & Utility Vehicle Distributors, LLC billed to the U.S. Secret Service for a total of $16,685, invoiced for “Golf cart rental for POTUS visit.” Oddly enough, these aren’t the first dollars the Justice Department has spent at Golf Car & Utility Vehicle Distributors, LLC. The government transparency site USASpending.gov shows the company might be the go to government contract in the area going back to at least 2012, because hey, all presidents golf, and Florida’s got a lot of golf courses.
Notable, however, is that Trump’s Secret Service has spent more at the company in 67 days (the above $16,685 plus another $8,000 for leasing “Ground Effect Vehicles, Motor Vehicles, Trailers, and Cycles”) than Obama’s did in any given year during his second term.
There are only three dates listed for golf cart rentals from the company to the Secret Service, February 2, March 2, and March 3, and those dates to closely correspond with three of the 13 dates Trump has visited one of his golf courses. But what about those other ten? Aside from Sunday’s visit to the Trump National Golf Club which lasted just under an hour, each have been long enough for at least one round of golf, and social media posts from club guests have caught the president in golf attire on a number of those occasions. So where did the Secret Service rent their carts from on those days?
One has to assume Trump’s courses offer cart rentals, so it’s feasible that the president charged the Secret Service to protect him while he was relaxing on one of his properties. It’s already been reported that the Secret Service and Department of Defense have or are considering renting space in Trump Tower, and agents have to sleep somewhere while Trump is at Mar-A-Lago.
It’s just one of the many ways the presidency has benefitted Trump’s brands. A recent New York Times article notes that businesses a president visits during their “off-time” usually experience a boost in revenue by the association, but Trump is the first commander-in-chief to exclusively visit his own properties. He’s likely hoping to see that boost reflected in the quarterly earnings reports he’ll be getting from his son Eric, who confirmed this month that business is good.
“The stars have all aligned,” Eric Trump told the Times. “I think our brand is the hottest it has ever been.”