GOP senator: Trump should spend less time at Mar-a-Lago

GOP senator: Trump should spend less time at Mar-a-Lago
© Victoria Sarno Jordan

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) said on Tuesday that President Trump's frequent trips to his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida bother not only her, but other members of the Republican caucus.

"I do wish he would spend more time in Washington, D.C.," Ernst said during a town hall meeting. "That's what we have the White House for."

Since he took office, Trump has spent seven out of the last 13 weekends at his self-described "winter White House" in Palm Beach. The visits have stirred controversy, in part because of the enormous costs associated with such frequent travel.

One estimate of the weekend trips by CNN placed the cost so far above $20 million, putting Trump on track to spend more on travel in his first year in office than former President Obama spent in eight years.

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Before becoming president, Trump frequently assailed Obama for his excessive travel and vacations, arguing that the then-president should stay in Washington to work rather than play golf on the weekends.

"I think that has been bothering not just me but some other members of our caucus," Ernst said of Trump's Mar-a-Lago trips. 

Trump has conducted some of the most important business of his presidency at the Florida resort. Earlier this month, the president ordered from Mar-a-Lago a missile strike on a Syrian airfield, a move that dramatically escalated the United States's use of force in the embattled country.

He has also hosted foreign leaders at Mar-a-Lago, including Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and, more recently, Chinese President Xi Jinping.