Protecting ex-President Donald Trump’s children is no longer a tax-payer problem.
Wednesday marks six months since Trump’s reluctant departure from The Oval Office. The milestone wipes away certain post-presidency perks, including funding for staff. Gone, too, is Secret Service protection for Trump’s adult children. Trump and his wife Melania are entitled to it for life; Barron, the couple’s 15-year-old son, will be protected by the Secret Service until he’s 16.
Secret Service protection for a president’s adult children generally expire the day a successor takes residence in The White House. But in the waning days of his administration, Trump issued a directive extending the Secret Service protection given to his four adult children and their spouses for half a year. The watchdog group Citizens for Ethics (CREW) obtained records indicating that taxpayers were forced to pay $140,000 in just the first month of the arrangement.
If just one month of the Trump children’s extended Secret Service protection cost $140,000, then the full six months could cost taxpayers nearly $1 million. Unfortunately, the records appear to not even be a complete accounting of the costs, since the Secret Service did not provide records of spending at Trump businesses, which is the most controversial aspect of the extended protection. While it may be tempting to put the story of the Trump family’s profiteering in the past, we cannot until they have actually stopped directing taxpayer money into their own bank accounts. Thanks to Trump’s unusual extension of their protection, they’ve got a few more months to continue the grift.
Trump also extended the Secret Service protection of three members of his administration: former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and former national security advisor Robert C. O’Brien, according to The Washington Post.
The Post explains that the Secret Service’s resources were strained by the Trump family’s extensive travel:
The Trump family’s protection has been costly for the Secret Service’s budget, as his adult children traveled widely across the country and around the world for personal vacations and travel related to the Trump Organization, the family company.
From 2017 to 2019, government records show, Trump family members took more than 4,500 trips that required the Secret Service to travel alongside them, costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.
Now that protection is supposed to expire.
Federal funds for Trump’s transition out of office are also going away. Business Insider explains:
Some of Trump’s transition aides will likely lose their government salaries this week as the transition formally comes to a close.
Taxpayer-funded Trump transition staffers include former high-ranking White House aides Stephen Miller and Dan Scavino, according to General Services Administration documents obtained by Insider under a Freedom of Information Act request.
Insider reports that “at least 17 people [are] expected to receive about $1.3 million in federal salary and benefits from January 20 to July 21, according to an estimate prepared by the GSA.”
Trump will still receive federal funds for staffs in perpetuity, but the dollar amount shrinks to $150,000 per year for the next two and half years, and then $96,000 a year after that.
Trump’s staff will also have to vacate office space in Arlington, Virginia. “Next week, crews are slated to remove cable and haul out furniture and IT equipment,” adds Insider.