Eric Trump visited a Trump property in development in Uruguay from January 8 to 9, 2019, a two-day business trip that cost taxpayers at least $80,786. CREW obtained records through the Freedom of Information Act today that add to the massive bill of Secret Service protection related to the Trump family’s management of the president’s business empire. The 2019 trip brings Eric Trump’s total up to at least $178,616 in taxpayer funds to work on development of the Trump Organization’s Punta Del Este property alone.
Eric Trump tweeted in February 2019 about the trip, saying he was visiting the construction site, and that he was proud of the progress being made on the new Trump Tower development. While in Uruguay, he granted an interview saying that President Trump “talks about Uruguay,” but that Eric made sure that there was a “separation” between his father and the business. Of course, even if Eric was extremely careful to maintain some sort of separation, trips like this one still promote President Trump’s personal financial interests because he refused to divest from the company.
The bulk of the spending—$55,565—was paid to the Grand Hotel, a luxury hotel one block from the Trump development where Eric stayed during his trip.
Eric’s previous trip to Uruguay in 2017 cost taxpayers $97,830 in hotel rooms for Secret Service and embassy staff. As a son of the president, Eric is entitled to Secret Service protection and should be protected, but the fact that his protection comes at such a significant cost when he is promoting foreign business interests raises serious ethics questions, as the company could repay the government, although we’ve seen no signs that they do.
Taxpayers need to know how much they are subsidizing the promotion of Trump’s businesses while he is president. Knowing the steep cost of just one trip, it is not surprising that the Trump administration has attempted to block the disclosure of Secret Service costs until after the presidential election.
Between President Trump’s frequent golf trips to his own courses, and charging Secret Service up to $650 per night to protect Trump at Mar-a-Lago, we knew that Trump’s tab with the taxpayers was high. Today, we can add another $80k to the tally of costs taxpayers have paid to advance Trump’s business interests.