When I was a little kid, the highlight of every summer was to pile into our sea-green Oldsmobile Delta 88 and head south three hours to Myrtle Beach, S.C., for a long weekend at Waikiki Village. The two-story “motor lodge” was exotic with its kidney-shaped pool. (Apparently kidneys are the only “fun” organ. When’s the last time you saw a liver or gall bladder-shaped pool? Exactly.) This annual vacation, complete with a beach walkover, a lot of fast food and Coppertone memories, probably cost about $150, including gas. Not too shabby.
Compare and contrast with the cost of a weekend at Donald Trump’s happy place, the sun-drenched spectacle that is Mar-a-Lago, which is derived from the Spanish words, “mar” meaning “sea” and “a-lago” meaning “screwing the taxpayers.”
Trump’s treasured trips South are getting more and more awk. It’s getting South Florida sticky to explain why it’s OK to spend $10 million in a month just to get some beach time.
You might wonder why it costs so much just to go to Florida, especially when you don’t even have to pay for a hotel. Of course, this is the cost of all the required Secret Service entourage and army of White House employees who must be available to conduct the important business of running the country. Also, and this is just an educated guess, team-building pedicures.
The reason this sticks in my craw like a dry Yankee biscuit is that Trump had repeated hissy fits when Obama picked up a golf club while visiting his native Kenya. Over and over, Trump-the-candidate tweeted petulantly about how Obama should stay in Washington and work for the people. What a difference a Russian-rigged election makes!
I admit I don’t have any proof of that but that has never stopped Trump or his minions. Mostly, I just sit around and wait for my microwave oven to read my mind just like Kellyanne told me to, although she was using TV when she said it so that’s confusing.
Trump wandering around the lushly appointed rooms of Mar-a-lago in his monogrammed slippers while taxpayers break pencils in half before taping them back together (that’s a dime!) isn’t simply tone-deaf. He said he’d release his tax returns in the first 100 days of office.
Then, to use popular parlance, he walked that back. Then he walked it back into a dark warehouse in Miami where even “Dexter” couldn’t find it and tossed it into a barrel of acid.
Obviously being president is a tough job. Presidents should take vacations. But they should also earn them.
We never got to go to Waikiki Village until school was out.
Trump won’t even show up for homeroom. Outside of a field trip to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in February, he hasn’t shown any willingness to learn much of anything. Sadly, even then, he appeared to be the kind of student who wanted to skip the exhibits and go straight to the gift shop for a candy necklace.
— Wilmington resident Celia Rivenbark is a NYT-bestselling author and columnist. Visit www.celiarivenbark.com.