WASHINGTON — The Government Accountability Office set out in 2017 to calculate the total cost to taxpayers of President Trump’s trips to Mar-a-Lago, his resort in Palm Beach, Fla., but said in a report issued on Tuesday that it could come up with only a snapshot of the expenses because the Trump administration did not respond to requests for more information.
The agency ended up studying only four trips the president took over a one-month period in 2017 and found that government agencies, including the Defense Department and the Secret Service, spent some $13.6 million — an average of over $3 million for each trip — to transport and protect the president, with the bulk of the expenses going to cover the cost of military aircraft and boats during that time.
The tab, officials say, is most likely higher since the total expenses that administration members racked up traveling, dining and staying at the resort are not known for the four trips, much less for the 218 days of his presidency that Mr. Trump has spent at one of his properties. Of that total, 78 of the days were spent at Mar-a-Lago.
The G.A.O. officials who compiled the report said the White House did not respond to three separate requests for information that might help them flesh out travel costs, while the Secret Service and the Defense Department had not submitted regular accounting of expenses to Congress, as is required by the Presidential Protection Assistance Act of 1976.