The mind-boggling taxpayer money being spent on Melania Trump’s day trips is leading to questions about how the Trump family is expensing federal dollars.
Justin Rohrlich & Heather Timmons report for Quartz that the First Lady recently took a trip to Toronto and spent $174,000 on local hotels and didn’t even stay the night.
Following the trip, the White House claimed much of that money was spent on the First Lady’s advance team. However, Quartz obtained the financial records from the trip via an FOIA request and noted that the $18,000 line item for the advance team wasn’t part of the $174,000 expense report.
The trip lasted only 12 hours and included 20 minutes spent with Britain’s Prince Harry at the downtown Sheraton before Melania Trump departed for the Ritz-Carlton. Later, she returned to the Sheraton to meet with US athletes competing in the Invictus Games. After that meeting concluded in 20 short minutes, Melania Trump visited with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at Air Canada Centre where they watched the opening ceremony of the games.
When the day was concluded Melania made her way home, returning to Andrews Air Force base in Maryland at 12:12 am, almost exactly 12 hours after she arrived in Toronto.
The First Lady’s various hotel bills were paid to “miscellaneous foreign awardees” and not to a specific hotel. So who exactly received payments for $35,000, $12,000, $19,000, $49,000, $43,000, and $16,000?
This isn’t the first time Melania has charged U.S. taxpayers exorbitant travel fees. When she took a day trip to Cairo the bill, minus her advance team charges, cost $95,000.
To put this spending in perspective, when Michelle Obama traveled to China in March 2014 for a two-night stay, the entire cost of her trip was $220,000. Those expenses included travel and hotel rooms for her advance team, security, and other personnel. For security reasons, the entire top two floors of the hotel were rented out to Michelle Obama’s team.
In the meantime, Melania’s team says she travels with a “much smaller contingent of staff than her predecessors” which makes her outrageous spending even more suspect.
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James Kosur is the former Editor-In-Chief and co-founder of Hill Reporter. He recently served as an editor for Business Insider and various other publications. James and his partners sold Hill Reporter to a new owner in July 2019.