During his three-year reign as President, Donald Trump has made some clearly questionable decisions regarding the use of tax dollars. From frequent trips to Mar-a-Lago to unethical reimbursement checks to political rallies, the president has racked up a bill in the hundreds of millions of dollars that has been footed entirely by the taxpayers.
Perhaps one of the most outrageous expenditures over the course of his presidency involved a long night of drinking between White House advisors during Chinese President Xi Jinping's 2017 visit to Mar-a-Lago. One evening of the two-day summit involved a group retreat to the resort's Library Bar, where they kicked out the bartender and had Secret Service guard the door while they treated themselves to the contents of the bar. By the end of the night, they had racked up a bill totaling $838 worth of premium liquor. With a 20% service fee later added by the resort, the total charges came up to be over $1,000.
Instead of requesting that each participant pay their part of the tab, the resort forwarded the bill directly to the State Department, which refused to pay it. The White House ended up footing the bill with no request for reimbursement, meaning that the alcohol was paid for entirely using tax dollars.
The obvious question, here, is how was any of this legal? The purchase of alcohol at Mar-a-Lago is grouped with expenditures for "presidential diplomatic travel" and isn't even required to be made public. So, unethical and wrong as it may be, spending tax dollars on something as frivolous as a night on the town is completely legal. Moreover, it could be happening more without taxpayers even knowing about it.
It's pretty clear that the use of tax dollars to cover something as unrelated to government as a night of heavy drinking is unethical, but lenient federal spending rules mean that it's also completely legal. And, unfortunately for the hard-working American taxpayer, this means that their dollars will continue to be flushed down the drain to fulfill Trump's whims as long as his presidency continues.