New Jersey town braces for Donald Trump’s whirlwind weekend visits
As U.S. President Donald Trump heads overseas on his first foreign trip since taking office, a small town in New Jersey is bracing for his return.
Trump is expected to spend his summer weekends at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. — which has some residents there worried.
“Who’s gonna foot the bill? I mean, he should really stay in Washington,” said area resident Zella Rubin.
It’s expensive keeping any president safe, but security for Trump while he’s away costs taxpayers big time. His frequent visits to his Mar-A-Lago estate in Florida have already cost more than $20 million, meaning Trump has already spent more money on travel during his first 100 days in office than his predecessor did in eight years.
Some of that money is going right back into Trump’s properties. Trump spent time in Bedminster before getting into politics, as a candidate and then as president-elect. Before his inauguration, he interviewed potential Cabinet members at the golf club. It’s also where Ivanka Trump married Jared Kushner, and where Trump once said he’d like to be buried.
“We knew what it was like to have the Trumps in town, but we didn’t know what it was like to have the president of the United States in town,” said Bedminster Mayor Steve Parker, who added residents had come to him worried about the costs of Trump’s visits. Parker has already asked Congress for an estimated $300,000 to help cover the costs of Trump’s expected summer trips.
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The president’s constant travel is even drawing criticism from members of his own party.
“I do wish he would spend more time in Washington, D.C.,” Republican Senator Joni Ernst told her constituents at a town hall in Iowa last month.
But Trump is committed to his getaways from the White House, and maintains it’s cheaper to go to New Jersey than New York.
“That costs almost nothing, because it’s hundreds of acres, and security, and they don’t have to close up streets, et cetera, et cetera,” he recently told Fox News.
Some Bedminster residents told Global News they view paying for the president’s travel costs as part of the deal.
“It costs to keep the king safe,” said resident Dany Nohra. “I don’t care about him going in and out of the White House, as long as he’s doing the job.”
Still others remain optimistic. “How many people can say the President has a home in my backyard?,” remarked Dorene Longell, owner of Bedminster Florist.
The U.S. Justice Department says it is considering repaying states that paid to protect President Trump between his election and the inauguration. The mayor of Bedminster says he’s working with his Congressman to ensure that costs generated since then will also be paid back.
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