The money to cover the cost of President Trump’s vacations to his private resort in Florida has to come from somewhere, and according to those monitoring his travel the $25 million that Trump has spent going to Florida would pay for 9 thousand meals on wheels.
The Center For American Progress (CAP) is tracking the cost of Trump’s visits to his private club, and what could be paid for with the money.
According to CAP:
The Meals On Wheels statistic matters because the Trump budget would eliminate federal funding for the program. The spending contrast is not a hypothetical. President Trump would literally rather spend taxpayer money flying himself and his family to his private club on weekends than making sure that 2.4 million economically vulnerable seniors have food.
Trump Budget Director Mick Mulvaney has described starving seniors as an act of compassion:
We can’t spend money on programs just because they sound good. Meals On Wheels sounds great. Again, that’s a state decision to fund that particular portion, but to take the federal money and to give that to the states, and say look we want to give you federal money for programs that don’t work. I can’t defend that anymore.”
Later Mulvaney was asked if this is a hard-hearted budget. He answered, “I don’t think so. In fact, I think it is one of the most compassionate things we can do to. You’re only focusing on half of the equation. Right? You’re focusing on recipients of the money. We’re trying to focus on both the recipients and the folks who give us the money in the first place, and I think it’s fairly compassionate to go to them and say look, we’re not going to ask you for your hard earned money anymore.”
Republicans frame the choice to pay for presidential vacations while cutting programs that aid the needy as a matter of not having the funds, but the decision is really about priorities.
In the Trump administration and Republican-controlled Congress, government resources should be directed to those at the top like Donald Trump. If seniors have to lose Meals On Wheels, Republicans are perfectly fine with their choice.
Donald Trump’s vacation spending has real consequences. The next time a Republican member of Congress or the administration argues that the country “can’t afford” to pay for a program that helps ordinary Americans, ask them how the country can afford to pay for Trump’s vacations.
It’s one thing to point out Republican priorities. The next step is for Trump and the Republicans to be held accountable for their decisions.