A one-day trip to Canada by First Lady Melania Trump cost US taxpayers $174,000, according to government spending documents reviewed by Quartz.
On September 23, 2017, Trump took a 12-hour trip to visit the Invictus Games, which took place a short drive away from Toronto. There, she met Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as well as Prince Harry.
She stopped by two hotels at the time: the Ritz Carlton and Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel.
Stephanie Grisham, Trump’s spokeswoman, said the $174,000 bill was normal, and that it accounted for a variety of other costs.
“What I can tell you is that when the President or First Lady travels, there are people who travel ahead on the advance team to ensure safety measures, medical care, communications, motorcade needs and logistics are all in place,” she told Quartz. “Mrs. Trump travels with a much smaller contingent of staff than that of her predecessors, but the entities I mentioned above are legally required for all official travel.”
But Grisham’s statement is misleading, according to Quartz. The $174,000 cost covered only Trump herself. The costs for her advance team — who takes care of the logistics and transportation issues — was calculated separately. Their hotel bills were $18,000 in total, with additional costs for transportation.
It’s not clear how Trump spent that much money. The total is drastically above the highest possible rate for a room at each hotel, and Trump didnt stay overnight at either of them in any case. Her Toronto hotel bills were separated into six different charges, labeled as “miscellaneous foreign awardees” in spending records.
Trump’s hotel spending habits have been questioned before. During a one-day visit to Cairo earlier this year, she racked up $95,000 in hotel bills. She also didn’t stay the night.