When my family and I made our last navy move across coasts, an infant in tow, quality childcare was not available at our new post until three months after our move, making it extremely difficult for me to keep my job. Yet I didn’t have the option of living separately from my husband in order to ensure I could work and our son continued to receive good care. The government would pay neither for me to stay in our old home, where we had a support network and a good childcare center for our baby, nor for a nanny in our new location. The child care center on base had a waitlist of 11 months. Paying our rent for a few more months so that I could live separately from my husband would’ve cost the government about $7,500 in total.
As my baby and I waited for a week in our old home for our new home to be ready, sweltering amidst stacks of boxes that the government-contracted movers had yet to pick up, the government would not reimburse us for a hotel room. Doing so would’ve allowed us to have access to a usable kitchen, furniture, and a well ventilated space. This would’ve cost us about $3,000 in total.
Taxpayers must pay tens of thousands for one day of Melania and Trump living in luxury in the Trump tower, but they do not pay to allow for a decent standard of living for the families who directly serve our country.
To be sure, if we paid for every military service member’s family to weather these changes in basic comfort, the expenses would add up to more than $145,000 per day. But the expenses accrued in maintaining the unnecessary first family residence in New York, combined with the extensive travels of the Trump family, many of them unrelated to governing, would certainly cover at least a large chunk of military childcare and housing expenses that we take on as a matter of simply following orders.
Anyone who voted for Trump on the basis that he would “put America first” should contend with the fact that we have a giant double standard for the way he and his family live, and the lifestyles of people who must put America first every second of every day.