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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Trump returns to Florida today, defying critics and costs






WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump today will make his fifth trip to the Winter White House in Palm Beach.

The return to Mar-a-Lago is confirmation Trump is ignoring criticism about the cost and complications of his visits, which, on the other hand, have thrilled patrons of the members-only club.

Trump will depart Washington after spending the day with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whom Trump as a candidate criticized for her openness toward refugees. Trump's posture toward Vladimir Putin has concerned Germany as has his stance on NATO.

Merkel is not traveling to Florida and it's unclear what Trump has planned for the weekend. His visits have mixed work, golf and social events.

But criticism has grown over the security costs, well into the millions of dollars, and the disruption to the area. A recent visit with the Japanese prime minister raised national security issues. And Democrats have raised conflict of interest concerns, demanding Trump release Mar-a-Lago's membership list.

Trump, the long-time part-time Floridian, is unfazed.

We're tracking all of the president's visits to Florida:

[Last modified: Friday, March 17, 2017 8:10am]


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