Speed Reads

Winter White House

Republican senator airs her 'concerns' that Trump spends all his time at Mar-a-Lago

Republican Sen. Joni Ernst (Iowa) admitted that she is "bothered" by President Trump's frequent trips to his Mar-a-Lago resort during a town hall Tuesday, NBC's Frank Thorp reports. "I do wish [Trump] would spend more time in [Washington, D.C.]," Ernst said. "That's what we have the White House for."

She added: "I think that has been bothering not just me but some other members of our caucus."

To date, President Trump has spent almost a third of his presidency at what his administration calls the "Winter White House." It costs about $1 million to travel from D.C. to Palm Beach, Florida, on Air Force One and while the White House declined to put a price tag on Trump's frequent travels, some estimates are already as high as over $10 million. Additionally, many have expressed serious security concerns about Mar-a-Lago; the Secret Service, for example, says it does not have the "time or money" to keep a record of who comes and goes from the club.

Ernst also criticized Trump hosting foreign leaders in Florida, where he recently discussed a response to a North Korean missile test with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in full view of gawking guests and mentioned bombing Syria to Chinese President Xi Jinping over a slice of chocolate cake. "I think it's smart that he does business in Washington, D.C.," Ernst carefully said. "So I've had those same concerns myself."