Almost one-third of Donald Trump’s time as president has been spent at his properties including his ongoing 10-day Christmas vacation at his Florida luxury resort.
With Trump comes a host of White House aides, an abundance of Secret Service agents and the ongoing controversy around the president boosting his private businesses by making frequent visits to properties that bear his name.
Although US presidents have always taken trips, Trump’s case is different as it involves places where others can stay if they pay.
As a businessman who made his fortune in residential and commercial real estate, Trump’s considerations are more complicated because his visits can create the appearance of a conflict of interest in highlighting a Trump property—from which he draws revenue—on a visit paid for by taxpayer dollars.
“George W. Bush went to his ranch in Crawford, Texas, a lot, but it’s not like you could rent the bedroom next to his,” said Jordan Libowitz, a spokesman for the transparency advocacy group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
Critics of the president say the stops are a clear violation of the Emoluments Clause in the US Constitution and give each Trump business a signature competitive advantage: The presidential seal of approval.
“The president’s incessant exploitation of his office to promote his properties is unprecedented in American history,” said Norm Eisen, the chair of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
Before he moved into the White House, Trump was a big fan of criticizing former President Barack Obama for the amount of time he spent on the golf course.
“Can you believe that, with all of the problems and difficulties facing the US, President Obama spent the day playing golf,” Trump wrote in 2014. “Worse than Carter.”