US taxpayers are, once again, paying thousands of dollars in rental fees for golf carts the Secret Service needs to protect Donald Trump when he hits the links. The latest charges amount to more than $78,000, taking the total spent on golf cart rentals to nearly $600,000 since Trump took office.
According to newly filed government expenditure data, the Secret Service allocated $78,300 on July 30 for “GOLF CARTS/TRUMP NATIONAL GOLF COURSE.” It does not specify which “Trump National” course it will be; there are Trump courses by the same name in California, New York, New Jersey, and Florida. The payee is listed as Horizon Distributors, Inc. of Phoenix, Arizona. The contract runs through November.
The Secret Service shadows Trump in the carts when he golfs, which is often: Trump has visited his golf clubs at least 202 times since his inauguration in January 2017, or once every 4.6 days. As Quartz reported last year, the modified golf carts used by Trump’s security detail have a top speed of 19 mph—about 5 mph faster than a standard cart.
The cost of the latest batch of carts could exceed the stated rate, if past performance is any guide. In 2018, the Secret Service set aside $60,000 for golf cart rentals at Trump’s Bedminster, New Jersey course, but wound up spending almost $120,000.
To date, taxpayers have spent about $107 million on the president’s golf outings, according to TrumpGolfCount.com, a site that tracks the president’s play. Trump spent this past weekend at his club in Bedminster, a two-day span marked by deadly mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.
Before he became president, Trump often criticized Barack Obama for his own trips to the golf course:
“For operational security reasons, the Secret Service cannot discuss specifically nor in general terms the means, methods, resources, costs, or numbers we utilize to carry out our protective responsibilities,” a Secret Service spokesperson told Quartz.