President Trump returned to his hometown of New York on Thursday, and security was heightened, especially around the already protected Trump Tower, where first lady Melania Trump and son Barron live.
But the president won’t be staying in his home-away-from-the-White-House-away-from-Mar-a-Lago home.
Despite the Secret Service, heavily armed NYPD officers, barricades, checkpoints and street closures around the skyscraper where Trump has a penthouse apartment, he will be spending his time in the Big Apple about an hour away at his golf club in Bedminister, New Jersey.
During his campaign, Trump would return to his home of 30 years and sleep in his own bed in Trump Tower, but he has not been seen in the city since Jan. 19.
Trump said last week that he hasn’t returned because the trips are “too expensive,” and he feels “guilty.”
“I hate to see the New Yorkers with streets closed,” Trump told Fox News, adding that safeguarding his clubs in Florida and New Jersey is an easier task.
Those costs are expected to swell to a daily average of $308,000 when Trump is in the city, but a recent federal spending agreement will allow for reimbursements to cities like New York and Mar-a-Lago.
After a successful vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Trump took off just after 5 p.m. for his first meeting with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, aboard the USS Intrepid. The president landed just after 6 p.m.
The extra time in Washington will cut the president’s visit with the prime minister short, in what some were looking at as a makeup visit after the terse phone call between the two men, which Trump reportedly ended by hanging up abruptly.
Trump’s homecoming marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea, in which American and Australian forces halted a strategic advance by the Japanese military.
Australian media called the “snub” a “comment on the weight he gives to the engagement with Australia.”
“Mr. Trump could direct a missile strike on Syria while making sure President Xi of China enjoyed the dessert cake at Mar-a-Lago,” Malcolm Farr from news.com.au wrote. “Japanese Prime Minister Abe had lots of quality golf time as well as a long, closed-door session in the Oval Office. Malcolm Turnbull, who timed his trip to match the schedule set by the president, will get briefings by security officials, a New York dinner and maybe just half an hour sitting knee-to-knee with the president in private talks.”