When Donald Trump goes golfing, he’s accompanied by an ever-present Secret Service detail tasked with keeping him safe (and, according to a new book, helping Trump cheat by repositioning errant balls).
While Trump’s predecessors also hit the links, Trump both golfs more frequently than past presidents and opts to play at courses that are more costly to protect, namely his own. (Barack Obama often hit the links on courses located on military bases.) And the Secret Service has racked up hefty expenses protecting Trump during his golf outings. A review of federal spending data by liberal super-PAC American Bridge 21st Century found 65 instances of spending by the Secret Service related to presidential golf outings, for a total of $769,520. Another four line items for Secret Service spending related to Mar-A-Lago—the president’s private club, which has no golf course but is often home base for his Florida golfing weekends—brought the total to $950,000.
These figures cover contracts for equipment, such as privacy fencing, portable bathrooms, tents, and barricades. In one instance, the Secret Service paid $15,600 for bulletproof glass so Trump could attend the Presidents Cup professional golf tournament in New Jersey in October 2017. Golf carts are a major expense, with the agency paying out at least $295,000 (other estimates place the number even higher). The Secret Service did not respond to request for comment.
Not included in these totals are the staff hours and travel costs associated with Trump’s golf trips. The website TrumpGolfCount.com has tallied 170 presidential trips to golf courses (all but one of those to a Trump-owned golf course) since his inauguration and estimates that taxpayers have spent as much as $99 million for Trump to play—and perhaps cheat at—golf.