Melania Trump flew separately to join her husband Donald Trump for the long Easter weekend at Mar-a-Lago, contributing to Trump’s growing taxpayer-paid travel tab.
Melania arrived in West Palm Beach Thursday on a government aircraft – the military version of a Boeing 757, about 6:30pm, just minutes before her husband landed on Air Force One.
Melania lives at Trump Tower with their son Barron, whose private school in New York is off this week for spring break.
The per-hour cost of operating the plane is $15,846, meaning the total trip cost was at least $100,000.
According to the New York Times, the president has spent 22 days at Mar-a-Lago during his presidency, which hit its 85th day Friday. He has spent 27 days, or nearly a third of his time in office, visiting a Trump property.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has defended the president’s trips to Florida, saying Mar-a-Lago “is where he goes to see his family. He brings people down there. This is part of being president.”
“I can’t think of anything like this that we’ve seen at anytime in the modern era,” George Washington Law School professor Steve Schooner told NBC News for a story on the president’s travel.
“It’s just another example of his consistent efforts to exploit public office for private gain. He’s using his official office and the fact that people have to travel with him, meet him, and follow him to promote his commercial enterprise, in this case his privately owned club.”