How much does AF1 travel really cost?

On July 27, 2018, Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post evaluated our #TrumpGolfCount cost estimate in a Fact Checker article. He "awarded" our estimate "three Pinocchios" (on a scale of four). Ouch.

Too much precision

One of Kessler's main complaints about the TrumpGolfCount site was the degree of precision with which our numbers are reported. At the time his article was published, our cost estimate was $72,251,706, but Kessler correctly pointed out that since our estimates have a great deal of uncertainty, they shouldn't be stated to the exact dollar. We've updated our site accordingly, and our total cost is now rounded to the nearest million.

Cost of Air Force One travel

The trickier question addressed is how much Trump's frequent use of Air Force One to travel to Bedminster and Mar-a-Lago costs the American taxpayer. In his article, Kessler chooses to lean on a conservative estimate of $142,380 per hour provided by the Air Force via Judicial Watch, which differs from a previous estimate of $206,337 provided by the same source. These stripped-down estimates do not include the cost of support aircraft, which Kessler points out are "unknown in Trump's case".

Our site, on the other hand, has been using an estimate of $518,000 per hour based on a Washington Post article from March, 2017. While it is true that this estimate was later shown to be too high, it does at least attempt to estimate the missing cost of support aircraft.

I'm reluctant to use the lowest estimate out there simply to ward off accusations of bias. While the true cost per hour of AF1 is likely lower than $518,000, it is almost certainly higher than $142,380. In the coming days, I'll give some thought to what value our site should use in its total cost calculations, and let you know once we've made the adjustment.

As I've written before, in the end, the most important thing will always be to keep the facts on this site "real". It's really awesome to have someone as well-known as Glenn Kessler evaluating TrumpGolfCount numbers, and I hope the conversation, the fact checking, and the transparency, will continue. It's what makes our nation strong.

Oh, and please vote. Please. Really.


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This page created and maintained by Sophie Germain.