Secret Service costs for presidential travel continue to mount

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) Keeping the president and his family safe is never cheap -- but Donald Trump is racking up quite a bill for taxpayers during the first 100 days of his presidency.

So far, President Trump has spent 21 days at his Mar-a-Lago golf club in Florida, putting the 45th president on pace to surpass his predecessor's first-term travel spending in just months.

“We are estimating that his trips to Mar-a-Lago cost about $1 million a trip," said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, who has been tracking the cost of presidential travel for years.

“Based on numbers from the air force, it costs about $142,000 an hour for Air Force one to move back and forth from Washington DC and on top of that, we've estimated about $250,000 in secret service costs," Fitton explained.

Peter Jaworski, a business ethics professor at Georgetown University says President Trump's travel is more expensive than any other president in history.

"Every president has to go on vacation, everybody needs a bit of time off. What's unethical about Donald Trump's trips is the expense that's involved," Jaworski explained.

Jaworski says a lot of the cost is associated with the location of the travel.

"You have to have the Coast Guard involved because it's right on the ocean so it's more expensive," he said.

The Secret Service recently requested an additional 60 million dollars for its 20-18 budget, but the Office of Management and Budget rejected that request.

“The number of protectees, the fact that they are in different locations, the traveling that the president is doing are all major challenges that the secret services has to face," said Pat O'Carroll with the Federal Law Enforcement Association.

O'Carroll, a former secret service agent, says he's concerned the agency is being stretched too thin and cutting resources from other units.

“The biggest problem is that what Secret Service really needs is sustainable predictable appropriations," O'Carroll said. "That's the responsibility of Congress."

In an effort to reign in travel costs, the Government Accountability Office plans to examine costs and security issues surrounding President Trump's frequent visits to Mar-a-Lago.

Former President Obama spent just under $97 million on travel during both terms. President Trump's trips so far have cost over an estimated $20 million.

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