Team Trump says he stays in touch with "regular Americans” at his swank Mar-a-Lago club
President Donald Trump's team is looking to fend off criticism that Trump has spent three consecutive weekends at his exclusive Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida — weekend getaways that are costing American taxpayers millions of dollars.
Their latest line of defense is that his trips to Mar-a-Lago make him available to "regular Americans," Trump spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told CNN.
The initiation fee to join the club is $200,000, about four times more than the median family income, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Since entering the White House, Trump has doubled the fee from $100,000, raising questions about whether Trump is trying to sell access, an ethical no-no.
Historian Jon Meacham told the New York Times that Mar-a-Lago, "represents a commercialization of the presidency that has few if any precedents in American history."
"Presidents have always spent time with the affluent. But a club where people pay you as president to spend time in his company is new," Meacham said. "It is kind of amazing."
Not only are the ethics of Trump's trips to Mar-a-Lago under fire, but the cost of his trips for taxpayers is also facing scrutiny.
To date, Trump's trips to Mar-a-Lago have cost taxpayers more than $10 million, according to the Washington Post.
That puts Trump, who criticized his predecessor Barack Obama for going on "taxpayer-funded vacations," on track to far exceed any past president in travel costs.