MIDLAND, Texas – Air Force cargo jets hauled in armored SUVs and White House advance teams spent weeks preparing a remote oil rig site for a presidential visit, at a total cost of millions, so that Donald Trump could get on stage and attack Democratic rival Joe Biden.
And who picked up tab? If you pay U.S. taxes, you did.
“I don’t think Biden is going to do too well in Texas. He’s already written it off. It’s gone,” Trump said, a stack of oil barrels arranged behind him for the camera shot. “If these far-left politicians ever get into power, they will demolish not only your industry, but the entire U.S. economy.”
Last week’s foray into partisan politics at an “official” event was, for Trump, hardly unusual. More than any president in modern times, he has openly conscripted American taxpayers into underwriting the costs of his reelection campaign, from travel aboard $273,000-an-hour Air Force 1 to the dozens of staff who arrange his trips to the salaries of his own White House employees who regularly ― and illegally ― engage in politics on his behalf.
And on Wednesday, Trump told Fox News he was “thinking about” holding his renomination speech later this month on the South Lawn of the White House ― which is government property.
“Between ethics laws, respect for the office and a commitment to American democracy, American presidents go out of their way not to do this,” said Jordan Libowitz, spokesman for the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “Donald Trump, on the other hand, has thrown his lot in with tin-pot dictators who use every opportunity to attack their perceived enemies and political opponents. When it comes to President Trump, what’s good for Trump comes above all else.”
At a May 14 “official” speech at a medical supplies warehouse in Allentown, Pennsylvania ― which, like most of Trump’s out-of-town events featured his campaign rally playlist ― mocked Biden for once...