Before leaving the White House in shame, Donald Trump used his power to ensure one last thing: that he and his family members would receive continued protection from the U.S. Secret Service for at least six months. While federal law provides Trump and his wife Melania with Secret Service protection for life, and their 14-year-old son Barron protection until the age of 16 under the Former Presidents Act, Trump extended this protection to at least 14 extended family members and some Republican allies by issuing a memorandum that gives them protection for at least six months.
According to The Washington Post, he extended “free” Secret Service protection to his four adult children, two of their spouses, and their children. He also directed that former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and former National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien all receive the same protection, people familiar with the arrangement told the Post. Former Vice President Mike Pence and his wife were not included as they are already set to receive protection for at least six months under the Former Presidents Act.
These services come free of cost to Trump and his family because the services are funded by taxpayers. While the exact cost of these services is not clear, according to CBS News, it is estimated that the costs are as high as tens of millions of dollars annually per president. Although Trump is not the first or only president to seek protection for his children after leaving office, the number of family members he has added will drastically increase cost detail.
Additionally, it is unclear whether other former presidents have ordered security for their former aides. Former presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama requested extensions for their daughters, but whether they extended this protection to their former aides has not been reported.
Representatives for the former presidential administration declined to comment on Trump’s decision to extend these protections. A spokeswoman for the Secret Service also declined to comment, noting that the agency does not discuss those it protects, the Post reported.
According to former senior administration officials, in the last four years the federal security force has staffed the largest number of full-time security details it has ever done, with an increase of up to 42% at one point. According to a 2019 Government Accountability Office report on Secret Service spending during February and March of 2017 alone, $390,000 was spent just to protect Trump’s family and their spouses on trips. During the same period it cost more than $1 million to protect Trump during his trips back and forth to his club Mar-a-Lago in Florida.
Additionally, from 2017 to 2019 government records found that Trump and his children took more than 4,500 trips, including those for both leisure and business. They were accompanied on these trips by Secret Service agents paid with taxpayer dollars, the Post noted.
But these aren’t the only expenses Trump and his family put on taxpayers during his reign. Daily Kos reported that the Secret Service was also forced to rent a studio for $3,000 a month when agents were refused access to a bathroom by Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.
Despite no longer being in office, Trump plans to continue his pattern of blowing through taxpayer dollars.
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