FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Palm Beach County taxpayers are getting a refund: $5.6 million for security costs for 10 presidential visits in 2017 and 2018.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency released the money to cover overtime costs related to protection of President Donald Trump from Oct. 1, 2017, to Sept. 30, 2018. He visited Mar-a-Lago, his Palm Beach estate, 10 times during that fiscal year, including major holidays Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. There was also an April summit at the estate with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The Palm Beach County Commission accepted the money on Tuesday with little comment.
South Florida law enforcement agencies have received similar pots of money for previous visits by the president. In October 2017, they got $1 million, and in December 2017, $3.4 million.
Almost all of the money went to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. Mar-a-Lago is inside the boundaries of the town of Palm Beach, but the Sheriff’s Office has taken the lead in providing protection because it’s the county’s largest law enforcement agency.
The president has visited Mar-a-Lago 23 times since he took office. The Sheriff’s Office estimates it costs about $60,000 daily in overtime for deputies when Trump visits. Deputies are used to guard Trump’s motorcade and estate.
County commissioners and South Florida congressional members have written letters pleading for help with costs associated with Trump’s visits.
The total cost to American taxpayers is still being compiled. The federal Government Accountability Office found that four presidential visits to Mar-a-Lago in 2017 cost an average of about $3 million per trip, including transporting and protecting the president and staffing military aircraft and boats to ensure no intruders at the waterfront estate.