Oct. 27, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. MDT
President Trump welcomed the Japanese prime minister at Mar-a-Lago, in front of a towering arrangement of roses. The two could have met in Washington, but Trump said his private club was a more comfortable alternative.
For Trump, there was another, hidden benefit. Money.
At Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s company would get paid to host his summit.
In the next two days, as Trump and Abe talked about trade and North Korea, Trump’s Palm Beach, Fla., club billed the U.S. government $13,700 for guest rooms, $16,500 for food and wine and $6,000 for the roses and other floral arrangements.
Trump’s club even charged for the smallest of services. When Trump and Abe met alone, with no food served, the government still got a bill for what they drank.
“Bilateral meeting,” the bill said. “Water.” $3 each. Those 2018 payments, revealed here for the first time, are part of a long-running pattern whose scope has become clear only in recent months.