Donald Trump has claimed he is staying at his New Jersey home for the weekend in order to save money.
On Friday, the US president tweeted: “Rather than causing a big disruption in NYC, I will be working out of my home in Bedminster, NJ this weekend. Also saves country money!”
Two days later he reiterated his reasons, writing: “The reason I am staying in Bedminster, N J, a beautiful community, is that staying in NYC is much more expensive and disruptive. Meetings!”
Donald Trump swaps ‘Winter White House’ for ‘Camp David North’
The estimated cost of the President’s trips to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida is $20 million (£15.4 million) in his first one hundred days as leader. Barack Obama’s trips cost a total of $97 million (£74.7 million) in eight years.
Senior White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee told The Washington Post: “I think he’s trying to save the taxpayer money the best way he can by taking his team and focus and being in New Jersey instead of being in New York, where it would have caused a much greater disruption and a much greater cost to taxpayers”.
When asked why the President did not conduct his meeting in the White House, where the costs would be significantly lower, Mrs Sanders did not comment.
In an interview with Fox News about his frequent weekend trips- many to golf courses – he insisted he “couldn’t care less about golf”.
He went on to say that, although he loves New York, “going back is very expensive for the country because they close up Fifth Avenue and they close up 56th Street … and I always feel a little bit guilty when I go there”.
Melania Trump and the couple’s 10-year-old son, Barron, accrue between $127,000 (£102,000) and $145,000 (£116,000) per day, or an average of $136,000 (£109,000), according to the New York Police Department (NYPD), for their stay in New York’s Trump Tower.
The pair are expected to move to the White House in June, which suggests the overall cost to taxpayers could amount to $18.2 million (£14.6 million).
In a recent budget announcement by Mr Trump, The Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars and funding for International Education programmes both face elimination.
The combined cost for keeping the programmes is $18 million (£14.5 million), less than the price tag for keeping Mrs Trump and her son in New York.