Politics - News Analysis
Melania’s One-Day Trip To Canada Cost Americans Almost $200,000 For Hotels — And She Didn’t Even Spend The Night
According to an investigative report by Quartz, Melania Trump ran up a six-figure hotel bill for a one-day trip to Toronto last year, according to federal spending records.
Government spending reports show at least six separate Toronto hotel charges ranging from just under $12,000 to nearly $49,000 for a total of roughly $174,000. Melania did not spend the night in Toronto.
The total was roughly eight times what it cost to house the first lady’s advance team, whose $18,000 in hotel expenses were broken out separately; in addition to the hotel charges, the first lady’s trip involved $21,000 in transportation costs.
Reports from the press pool that accompanied Trump on her September 23, 2017, Canadian excursion showed that her schedule involved multiple hotel stops.
Based on those reports, this was her itinerary for the day:
12:09 pm (Sept. 23): Arrives in Toronto. The first lady travels to a downtown Sheraton, meets with Britain’s prince Harry for 20 minutes, and then departs for the Ritz-Carlton.
4 pm: Returns to Sheraton. The first lady meets with US athletes competing in the Invictus Games (an event for disabled veterans created in 2014 by prince Harry) for 20 minutes. She delivers a speech that was one minute, 15 seconds long.
6:35 pm: Arrives at Air Canada Centre. The first lady greets prime minister Justin Trudeau and his family and watches the opening ceremony of the games from a VIP suite.
12:12 am (Sept. 24): Returns to Andrews Air Force base in Maryland.
It is not known how Melania and her staff ran up nearly $200,000 in hotel bills for a 12-hour trip. The total was nearly double the $95,050 bill for a hotel in Cairo, Egypt, where she stopped for a day last month during a trip to Africa. All six charges for the first lady’s Toronto hotel bills were paid to “miscellaneous foreign awardees” rather than a specific hotel.
Additional hotel charges for the FLOTUS advance team for the Toronto trip came to $18,000. Three separate transportation charges for the same trip came to $21,000: one for $13,000, one for $5,000 and one for $3,000.
The previous first lady, Michelle Obama, spent $18,320 on transportation over 10 days in Copenhagen, Denmark, during a 2009 trip that included speeches and meetings to push for Chicago to be the site of the 2016 Olympic Games. Her two-day visit to Chengdu, China, in 2014 cost over $220,000 in hotel bills, the Weekly Standard reported then. The figure included expenses for her advance team, communications staff, and security.