MIAMI (CBSMiami) — President Donald Trump is spending the holidays in the ‘Winter White House,’ also known as Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach.
First Lady Melania Trump and son Barron are at the estate.
The president was greeted by supporters along the way.
“I believe he’s fighting for us so we believe we need to show our support and fight for him,” said supporter Donald Tarca.
Among the supporters, was a lone protester carrying an “impeach” sign.
“I think it’s not the direction I’d like to see things go in, aggressive foreign policy doesn’t do anyone any favors, the tax cuts are hurting my family personally,” said protester Matt Brown.
The president started off his holiday break signing into law his first major legislative win – the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul. He delayed his departure to Mar-a-Lago to get it done.
“I was going to wait for a formal signing sometime in early January but then I watched the news this morning and they were all saying, ‘will he keep his promise, will he sign it by Christmas,'” said Trump.
President Trump was quite active on Twitter this morning, patting himself on the back. One tweet focused on legislative approvals, regulation cutting, judicial appointments, building military, VA , tax cuts and reform, and record economy/stock market.
Kevin Wagner is a political science professor at Florida Atlantic University. He say it’s common for presidents to toot their own horn — what makes this different is that the tax bill is relatively unpopular.
“The president is taking credit for that and talking up his accomplishments and that’s not atypical for a president to do,” said Wagner. “Whether it’s popular now or not, it is the first major piece of legislation passed during this administration so they’re going to take some time to make a victory lap.
Looking toward next year, the president tweeted, “I predict we will start working with the Democrats in a bipartisan fashion. Infrastructure would be a perfect place to start.”
Wagner says that won’t be easy.
“What’s going to be required to do that is come to give the Democrats some of the things they want to happen and so far it looks like the White House has not been willing to do that,” said Wagner.
As for Trump’s visit to Florida, his stay in Mar-A-Lago will mark the 106th day Trump has visited one of his properties as President, a fact that critics argue helps the businessman-turned-politician boost the bottom line at The Trump Organization. Trump transferred his business holdings to a trust run by his sons before taking office earlier this year, but stopped short of selling off his holdings.
To date, Trump has spent 34 days at Mar-A-Lago as President, including seven weekends in January, February and March, according to a CNN analysis. Though it has been his most controversial stomping grounds, it has not been his most frequent.
When the weather in South Florida turned hot and muggy over the summer, Trump ventured north to the familiar confines of his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. Trump spent a total of 40 days at the club, including a number of work-filled days in August when Trump held meetings with cabinet officials and called world leaders.
Closer to the White House, Trump has visited Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia 23 times and Trump International Hotel just blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue five times so far during his presidency.
He also stopped by the Trump International Hotel Waikiki during a brief stop in Hawaii on his way to Asia in November.
All presidents take vacations, but Trump, a celebrity before he took office, is rare in that he used that perch to slam former President Barack Obama for playing golf while running the country. Trump, as of Friday, has spent over 80 days at one of his golf courses, according to CNN’s count.
It’s unclear how much each visit to Mar-A-Lago costs and estimating the cost is difficult because of fluctuations based on security protocols and protection on each trip. But a 2016 Government Accountability Office report for a four-day trip President Barack Obama took to Florida in 2013 found that total cost to the Secret Service and Coast Guard was around $3 million.
Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog organization, has estimated the figure is less for Trump.
But the trips aren’t just costly to federal agencies. Local governments, whose officers are often tasked with protecting the President during his visits, saddle expenses as well.
According to estimates provided to CNN by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, it costs around $60,000 in overtime every day Trump spends in Florida. The cost to the sheriff’s office is so sizable that earlier this year, local officials grappled with the idea of either raising taxes or cutting services to pay for Trump’s trips.
Those plans never came to fruition, but the Palm Beach County Commissioners did approve more funding, including 15 more deputies, for the sheriff’s department earlier this year. The effort was, in part, because of Trump’s visits.
Palm Beach County was also helped this month when the Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded $3.3 million to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office for presidential protection.
The President is expected to return to the White House on New Year’s Day.
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