Democrats announced March 28 that a government watchdog will examine President Donald Trump’s taxpayer-funded travel expenses during his trips to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.
Democrats said a government watchdog will review the president’s travel expenses and security procedures while staying at his Mar-a-Lago resort, Global News reported.
Democrats reached out to the Government Accountability Office following reports that Trump openly discussed North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the resort on Feb. 11.
In their letter to the Government Accountability Office, lawmakers said the president communicated with his associates about North Korea’s missile launch by cell phone while sitting with the Japanese prime minister in the middle of a public dining room.
Members of Trump’s team allegedly used phone flashlights to illuminate highly secure documents about North Korea for Trump and Abe to look over at their dimly-lit dinner table, The Independent reported.
“In addition to making sensitive phone calls in the dining room, aides reportedly used the camera lights on their cellphones to help President Trump and Prime Minister Abe view the documents — all while surrounded by Mar-a-Lago club members and wait staff,” the Democrats wrote in their letter to the Government Accountability Office, according to Global News. “By conducting discussions in this manner, the president enabled private citizens without security clearances to potentially overhear sensitive or classified national security information.”
The Government Accountability Office is now looking to determine whether a secure space exists in Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, and how the president handles classified information while traveling, according to a March 24 letter to lawmakers.
During the 2016 presidential race, Trump and fellow Republicans constantly criticized former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for compromising national security by using a private email server. The slams eventually led to chants of, “Lock her up,” by Trump supporters during his rallies.
The Government Accountability Office will also look into what measures the Secret Service and Defense Department are taking to ensure that the president’s taxpayer-funded travel expenses are fair and reasonable.
Citing press reports, Democrats said each of Trump’s trips to his Mar-a-Lago resort costs about $3 million. Lawmakers said it is not clear how members of Trump’s staff, his military aides and Secret Service agents “incur travel and room expenses using taxpayer dollars and if they are being charged fair and appropriate rates.”
Democrats have also asked the Government Accountability Office to confirm whether Trump is donating all profits his hotels earn from foreign governments to the U.S. Treasury, as he previously promised.
Sources: Global News, The Independent / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr