Before leaving office, Donald Trump issued an unusual order granting six extra months of Secret Service protection to his four adult children and three top officials from his administration. That extra security cost taxpayers $1.7 million, according to a Washington Post analysis. The Post explains:
….Trump’s order required the Secret Service to devote agents and money to an unexpected set of people: wealthy adults, with no role in government, whom the agents trailed to ski vacations, weekend houses, a resort in Cabo San Lucas, and business trips abroad.
Secret Service agents racked up $347,000 in airfare, hotel and rental car bills while protecting Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner as they enjoyed a post-White House life that included visits to a series of “resort destinations: Hawaii, Utah ski country, an upscale Wyoming ranch and Kiawah Island, S.C,” according to The Post.
In 2019, Business Insider estimated the couple was worth $1.1 billion.
Protecting Donald Trump Jr. and younger brother Eric cost $213,000 and $241,000 respectively. Agents assigned to Eric often stayed at Trump properties in Washington, D.C. and Chicago. The Trump organization charged them for the rooms.
The Post contextualizes:
Jordan Libowitz, a spokesman for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said these charges — though small — represented a moral choice for the Trump family. If they wanted to reduce the burden of their extended protection on taxpayers, here was an easy chance to do it. Just don’t bill for rooms at Trump properties.
“The patriotic thing would obviously be not charging the government to stay at your properties and not profiting or profiteering off the government. It is just so easy for them to write off the rooms,” Libowitz said. “And we’re not seeing that.”
Tiffany Trump was the cheapest Trump child to protect. The Secret Service accrued $56,000 in bills while guarding her.
Of the three former Trump administration officials who were granted extended protection – National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows – O’Brien appears to be the least costly. “The Secret Service spent $17,000 on rental cars while guarding him, but other expenses were not released,” reports the Post.
Meadows accounted for $342,000 in protection costs as he traveled between Washington D.C., Florida, and North Carolina.
Mnuchin, a businessman and film producer, was the biggest expenditure. According to The Post:
In all, the Secret Service reported spending $479,000 while protecting him.
The receipts showed that agents spent $114,000 over the six months to rent rooms at a W Hotel in Los Angeles, where Mnuchin has a home.
They also followed Mnuchin on three trips to the Middle East, where Mnuchin is reportedly seeking to raise money from sovereign wealth funds for a new venture called Liberty Strategic Capital.
On just one of the business trips, Secret Service agents protecting Mnuchin spent $52,000, including $11,000 to stay at Qatar’s luxe St. Regis Doha.
Through a spokesman, Mnuchin told The Post that he didn’t seek the extra protection and he intends to partially reimburse the Secret Service. Forbes pins his net worth at $400 million.
“Even if there was a credible risk to family and associates of Trump, these people are now private citizens who can afford to hire some very talented private security firms for their personal protection,” Jim Helminski, a former Secret Service executive, told The Post.
The Secret Service has an annual budget of $2.4 billion. By law, Donald Trump will receive protection for life.