The spending, thought to be much higher, went to the U.S. president’s airplanes, hotels, golf courses and bottled-water company.
Before he was sworn into office, Trump eschewed calls to fully separate from his business interests. Instead he put his holdings in a trust designed to hold assets for his “exclusive benefit,” which he can receive at any time without the public’s knowledge. He also retains the authority to revoke the trust.
Trump launched his campaign at one of his buildings, Trump Tower in New York, where his campaign leased space. Campaign events offered Trump-branded water and wine. The campaign and Secret Service paid TAG Air Inc. for use of Trump’s Boeing 757 airplane, customized with gold-plated bathroom faucets and seatbelts.
Since his inauguration, Trump has visited one of his properties, usually in Florida, New Jersey and Virginia, on 138 days, according to the White House. Those visits have led to government spending.
Federal agencies that spent money include the National Security Council, Secret Service, Defense Department, General Services Administration and U.S. embassies.
Recipients include Trump Tower Commercial LLC, Trump International Hotel in Washington, Mar-a-Lago club in West Palm Beach, Fla., Trump National Doral Miami, Trump International Hotel Las Vegas, Trump Restaurants LLC, the Trump Corp., Trump Payroll Corp. and Trump Plaza LLC.
Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif. is expected to introduce a bill that would prohibit government spending at properties owned by officeholders if the money provides a profit to the officeholders.
“Trump has raised the art of the self-deal to unprecedented heights, enriching himself at the expense of taxpayers,” said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen. “This requires a legislative response.”