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A Government Watchdog Group Will Investigate Trump's Trips to Mar-a-Lago

The president has visited the "Winter Whitehouse" 17 times since taking office, and no one knows how much it's cost.
Drew Schwartz
Brooklyn, US
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Though it's unclear exactly how many times he's played golf, Trump has visited Mar-a-Lago—his private golf club in Palm Beach, Florida—at least 17 times since taking office. Now, a government watchdog group is going to investigate just how much the government is spending to go along on Trump's trips to the "best club in the world"—and exactly how secure those visits are, the Washington Post reports.

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After Trump held a dinner-turned-national security meeting with Japanese prime minister Shinzō Abe at the club in February, a few Democrats grew "deeply concerned" with how he was spending his time there and asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to look into it. Not only does the agency plan to find out whether or not the government is being charged "fair and reasonable" rates while staying there, but also what's being done to protect classified information and secure lines of communication at the club.

With each visit to Mar-a-Lago, Trump is guarded by the Secret Service, the Coast Guard, and local cops. While the government hasn't disclosed exactly what kind of a bill that's racking up, we do have a few rough indicators. To compare, the GAO estimated that Obama spent around $3 million on just one similar trip he made to Florida, like the many Trump has already made to his club. Additionally, a CNN investigative reporter recently discovered that the Secret Service billed a Miami car company a whopping $16,000 just for golf cart rentals in February and March—although it's not clear if those carts are being used at Mar-a-Lago.

Tom Udall, one of the Democrat senators who called for the probe, said Monday that Americans "deserved to know who has access to the president, how much it's costing to protect him, and whether the Trump Organization is benefiting from that protection." The inquiry is set to take place in the next few months.

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