- Melania Trump flew to Mar-a-Lago Thursday to join President Trump for the weekend
- She traveled there separately aboard a military version of the Boeing-757
- Landed a few minutes apart, with the President touching down just after 6:30 pm
- President Trump flew from Joint Base Andrews outside Washington
- The first lady’s plane, sometimes used by Vice President Mike Pence, costs $15,846 per hour to operate
- President Trump’s trips to Mar-a-Lago have been estimated to cost at least $1 million each
Melania Trump flew separately to join President Trump for a long Easter weekend at Mar-a-Lago, getting the chance for some quality family time – while also contributing to her husband’s growing taxpayer-paid travel tab.
The first lady 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.
Vice President Mike Pence took the same plane Melania used to a conference in Munich earlier this year.
The first lady lives at Trump Tower with her and the president’s 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.
Melania Trump dressed arrives at West Palm Beach International Airport Thursday alongside son Barron Trump. President Trump flew separately aboard Air Force One
Conservative pro-transparency group Judicial Watch estimates that it costs taxpayers $1 million for each trip President Trump takes to Mar-a-Lago.
Another available figure is the $3.6 million it cost President Obama to take a single trip to Chicago and Palm Beach while in office. This has prompted some to tabulate Trump’s running costs at over $20 million.
Tom Fitton, president of the group, sued to gain access to Obama-era travel documents, said Trump should be cognizant of the costs born by taxpayers.
‘Taxpayers are on the hook for each trip. We have a right to expect that the president be a steward of these funds, and funds that he has direct control over, because he decides whether to go or not,’ Fitton told DailyMail.com.
LETS CARPOOL NEXT TIME: Melania Trump arrives at West Palm Beach International Airport
The plane carrying the First Lady of the United States Melania Trump arrives at the Palm Beach International Airport so her and US President Donald Trump can spend Easter weekend at Mar-a-Lago. Vice President Mike Pence sometimes uses the same aircraft
Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie Abe walk off Air Force One at Palm Beach International Airport in Florida as they arrive to spend the weekend at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, February 10
Air Force One carrying President Donald Trump arrives at the Palm Beach International Airport so the President can spend Easter weekend at Mar-a-Lago resort on April 13, 2017 in West Palm Beach, Florida. President Trump has made numerous trips to his Florida home and according to reports has cost over an estimated $20 million in his first 80 days in office
SKY HIGH TRAVEL TAB
Cost to operate a military version of the 757 for first lady travel: $15,846 per hour
Cost to operate Air Force One: $142,380 per hour
Cost to fly first lady round trip from La Guardia airport to Palm Beach International Airport: about $100,305
Cost to fly President Trump round trip from Joint Base Andrews to Palm Beach International Airport: about $332,173
Combined cost: $432,478
(flight times may vary)
Source: Obama administration records obtained by Judicial Watch
Air costs only: Does not include Secret Service, lodging, motorcade, hotels, accidional local law enforcement
But Fitton said Obama took more egregious trips, practically using Air Force One ‘for touring every golf course in America.’
‘She is staying in New York to be close to her son. Should she be punished, should the Trump family be punished by not being all to travel where the president is going to be on a holiday like Easter?’ Fitton asked.
The Air Force makes additional outlays each time the president travels aboard Air Force One.
The price is $142,380 per hour, or about $332,173 to fly from Joint Base Andrews.
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.
His travel has sometimes drawn criticism for providing brand promotion for his properties at taxpayer expense. Annual club dues at Mar-a-Lago were doubled to $200,000 after Trump took office.
For some other trips, the first lady has hopped aboard Air Force One for the trip to Mar-a-Lago, as she did during the eighth week of his president. Melania Trump, the president, and Barron Trump could all be seen exiting the plane. The first lady waived at one point and the president made a fist for the gathered crowd.
DOOR-TO-DOOR SERVICE: President Donald Trump sits in his vehicle before being driven away after arriving on Air Force One at the Palm Beach International Airport to spend Easter weekend at Mar-a-Lago resort on April 13