Trump has spent at least seven weekends at his Florida resort, totaling an estimated $25 million, just over 1/3 of the annual budget the Chesapeake Bay clean up effort receives, and Virginia Democrats are pissed.
It’s been just about a month since the Virginia Democratic Party first asked Trump to skip his almost-weekly vacations and divert those funds to the health of the Bay. But that request appears to have gone un answered.
“Donald Trump is not looking out for our families or our future,” said Democratic Party of Virginia Chairwoman Susan Swecker in an email sent out on Earth Day. She said the President’s travel expenses have hit this mark and he’s not even 100 days into his presidency. Meanwhile, his proposed budget will entirely cut the Bay’s annual $73 million in clean up funds.
“While he will undoubtedly continue to enjoy pristine ocean views in Florida, we’ll be left with a ‘large, dead, and putrid body of water,’ here in Virginia,” Swecker said.
The exact cost of Trump’s travel has been a bit hard to nail down, but USA Today got to their high dollar figure by looking at the cost of a four day trip Obama took in 2016, $3.6 million.
But this number didn’t include the cost of local agencies – luckily, the folks in Mar-a-Largo have been public in their requests for federal money to make up for the cost of Trumps trips: $3.5 million in overtime cost reimbursement for the local Sheriffs office, through April 9, which the agency still have not received.
Then there’s the cost to local businesses like airports that have forgone about $700,000 due to air-space restrictions, and the Chinese President Xi Jinping visit earlier this month that cost the county $1.5 million in security costs.
Comparatively, The Washington Post reports Obama spent a total of Obama’s $97 million on vacations over the course of his eight year term.
Meanwhile, advocates and reasonable, level headed people, are pointing to the costs incurred by cutting funds for the bay. The Lynchburg News & Advance published an editorial this week pointing out annual revenue from the Chesapeake hitting about “generate $33 billion worth of economic activity annually.”
“Protecting the environment provides some of the greatest returns on investment you can imagine,” reads the OpEd. “Both from actual dollars spent and regulations put in place to protect the world in which we live.”
Kate Addleson, Director of the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter, is all too familiar with a time when the Bay was left in ruins, and she and her group have marveled at its return to prominence. But they are also worried about what funding cuts could mean.
“The progress being made toward protecting this critical resource for the region supports fisheries, oyster and crab populations, tourism and other industries — really the whole ecosystem,” Addleson said in a press release back in March. “All of these beneficiaries of the program would be at risk if this reckless cut was to go through.”
The good news is Trump’s trips to Mar-a-Largo are about to come to an end; it’s about to be too hot in Florida so the resort shuts down for the summer. But don’t worry, folks, he’s heading to his other resort in Bedminster, New Jersey – about an hour from NYC – where horse riding and golf are perfect during the hotter months.
That’s something his un- and under-employed Rust Belt supporters can relate too, right?