President Donald Trump’s private properties have billed the Secret Service at what appears to be highly inflated rates–as high as $650 per night–and left U.S. taxpayers holding the bill, according to a Friday report from the Washington Post.
The administration has tried to obscure taxpayer spending at Trump properties, but records reportedly show several instances in which the Secret Service booked rooms or cottages on Trump properties for extended periods of time, even when the president wasn’t there.
Eric Trump, The Trump Organization executive vice president and the president’s son, last year told Yahoo News that having his father stay at the company’s private properties was actually beneficial to taxpayers, because they essentially charge them “nothing.”
“If my father travels, they stay at our properties for free,” Eric Trump said, just after the president announced plans to host the 2020 G-7 summit at Trump National Doral in Florida. “So everywhere that he goes, if he stays at one of his places, the government actually spends, meaning it saves a fortune because if they were to go to a hotel across the street, they’d be charging them $500 a night, whereas, you know we charge them, like $50,” he added.
This has proven to be false.
As the Secret Service has failed to file four of the six semi-annual reports about spending at Trump properties, it was left to the Post to piece together the 103 available receipts–mostly obtained through public records requests and document leaks. It shows more than $471,000 in taxpayer dollars going directly to Trump companies. The actual total is almost certainly far greater:
In 2018, receipts show, the Secret Service tended to book more rooms and stay longer [at Trump properties] than they had in 2017 — in one case, when Trump came for two weekends in a row, the Secret Service rented four rooms for nine nights apiece. They stayed all week, even while Trump was gone.
In Bedminster, records show, the Secret Service went further: It paid not by the day — but for a whole month at a time. The Secret Service rented the club’s ‘Sarazen Cottage,’ a three-bedroom building near Trump’s own villa, from July 1 to Oct. 1, 2017.
The Secret Service was charged $17,000 a month to use the aforementioned Sarazen Cottage, and the president did not stay at his Bedminster property for the entire month.
Democrats say the Trump administration has stonewalled them on this issue, just as they have on all others.
“They’ve really stonewalled us,” Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) said, per the report. “He’s trying to hide the details from the public, because he knows how bad it looks. That’s the truth of it. He’s a billionaire, but we’re spending millions of dollars to support his for-profit clubs and for-profit businesses.”
As previously reported by Law&Crime, the Trump administration has gone to great lengths to prevent the public from seeing just how much the president is profiting from Secret Service charges at his properties. The Secret Service payments to Trump’s clubs also haven’t been listed in the public databases showing federal spending.
[image via Leon Neal/Getty Images]