On one of Donald Trump’s last days in office, he took the unusual step of extending his children and grandchildren’s Secret Service protection after his presidency ended. Of course members of Trump’s family were entitled to that protection while he was president, but often that protection ended up forcing the Secret Service to pay Trump businesses to protect the family. Trump’s extension of the protection beyond his presidency continues his corrupt use of presidential powers to funnel taxpayer money to his businesses. The only question is: How much?
CREW requested records from the Secret Service about the total cost associated with Trump’s extension of protection for his family, and how much of that money was spent at Trump properties during the first month after Trump left the presidency. On May 5, 2021, CREW submitted a second request which expanded the search to include several administration officials, including former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and former National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, and expanded the date range to to include several weeks before Trump left office.
The Washington Post reported that Trump extended taxpayer funded protection for six months, at no cost to him or his family or his family businesses, for 13 of his children and grandchildren. During Trump’s presidency, CREW discovered that the Trump family was taking twelve times the number of protected trips than the Obama family did. Often, that travel ended up costing the American people hundreds of thousands of dollars, from the security costs for international business trips to the cost of golf cart rentals. Even more troublingly, that spending often occurred at Trump businesses that the family owned and profited from.
While there is normally nothing wrong with the family of a president receiving protection from the Secret Service, it is fair for taxpayers to have questions about why the protection was extended beyond Trump’s time in the White House, and how much of the spending is occurring at Trump family businesses.
In six months of additional protection, the Trump family could certainly run up a significant bill. With the American people footing the bill for this unusual arrangement, they deserve to know exactly how much it is costing them.