Vanity Fair is reporting that Donald Trump famously ripped off taxpayers for millions of dollars during his four years as president by having official business at his properties, where the grifter incarnate made sure to bill the people for everything from golf carts to candles to water.
The most lucrative source of income, however, appeared to be charging the Secret Service to rent space at his own resorts; whether it was a weekend at Mar-a-Lago or an overnight at Bedminster, Trump, who claims to be “very rich,” never thought to let the people tasked with protecting his life stay for free, instead forcing the government to pay significantly more money than Eric Trump once claimed.
Since former presidents are given Secret Service for life, and Trump didn’t stop being a con man when he left office, that arrangement has obviously not changed—between January 20 and April 30, he billed the Secret Service for $40,011.15, a sizable sum considering he could have charged the agency nothing.
But Trump isn’t the only member of his family who is still robbing the public: his adult offspring, all of whom are crooks in their own right, are as well.
Taxpayers have been forced to fork over $1.7 million to protect Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, Lara Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Tiffany Trump, and three former officials, thanks to the 45th president’s order, issued during his final days in office, to extend 24/7 security for six months for Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, Lara Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Tiffany Trump, and three former officials.
What is the breakdown of the charges?
The Washington Post reports:
Among the first payments the Secret Service made was to Trump’s own company. That day, the records showed, Ivanka Trump and her family left Washington for Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, N.J.—where Ivanka Trump has a cottage on the grounds. Secret Service agents came along, and Trump’s club charged them for the rooms they used.
The bill was $708.30 for one night, the records showed. The rate appeared to be $141.66 per room, the same rate that the club charged the Secret Service while Trump was still president. In the next six months, the Secret Service spent about $347,000 on airfare, hotels, and rental cars while protecting Ivanka Trump and her husband, former White House adviser Jared Kushner, the records show. The receipts showed the pair visiting resort destinations: Hawaii, Utah ski country, an upscale Wyoming ranch, and Kiawah Island, S.C.
Agents also followed Kushner—now a private businessman—to the United Arab Emirates in May, paying $9,000 for hotel rooms, according to federal spending data posted online. The Secret Service did not say what the airfare costs were for this Kushner trip. The Daily Beast reported that the hotel was the Ritz-Carlton in Abu Dhabi, citing a government spending document that said the hotel was Kushner’s choice.
In other words, taxpayers have borne some of the cost of Javanka’s vacations and Kushner’s role as a businessman. The couple’s spokespeople did not respond to the Post’s requests for comment, but if they had, they might have explained why taxpayers are still footing the bill for Kushner and Ivanka’s security detail when the couple reportedly made up to $640 million while working in the White House and can easily afford it out of their own pockets. (Another unsolved question: Do Kushner and Ivanka now allow the Secret Service to use their bathrooms, or do they still have to go outside and find a tree?)
What about Ivanka’s brothers and sisters? The Trump brothers turned out to be marginally less expensive to guard, but only by a little margin, whereas Tiffany was a steal.
STORY CONTINUES BELOW...
Tiffany Trump, a recently married law school graduate, appeared to cost the least to guard. The partial records showed that, as of May, the Secret Service had spent $56,000 on airfare, rental cars, and hotels while protecting her. The costs of protecting Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. were similar: $241,000 for Eric and $213,000 for Trump Jr.
The records showed that the brothers mainly shuttled between their homes in New York and South Florida, with an occasional side trip. Trump Jr. went fishing in Montana. Eric Trump—who has become the most visible leader of the Trump Organization—visited Trump hotels in Washington and Chicago. When he did, just as when his sister visited the Bedminster club, the Trump Organization charged agents who stayed in the former president’s properties: $350 for rooms in Washington, $1,415 in Chicago.
Outside of the Trump family, the former president provided six more months of Secret Service security to numerous of his former aides, courtesy of taxpayers.
Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, former national security adviser Robert O’Brien, and, most vexing of all, former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, whose bill totaled $479,000 and included $114,000 for rooms at a W Hotel in Los Angeles, $23,000 for rooms during business travel in Israel, and $58,000 for rooms and golf carts during three separate trips to Israel.
For those unfamiliar with various Trump officials’ net worths, Mnuchin is extremely wealthy, with an estimated net worth of $400 million as of July 2019. What was his secret to amassing enormous wealth? According to multiple accounts, this includes his stint as CEO of OneWest, which supposedly “carried out more than 36,000 foreclosures during [his] reign,” including one allegedly against a 90-year-old woman who owed the bank 30 cents but wrote a check for $3.
Mnuchin told the Post through a spokesperson that he hadn’t requested Trump for more protection, but that he didn’t turn it down because “government officials urged him to keep it.” Mnuchin “intends to reimburse certain expenses” incurred as a result of his extended six months of protection, according to the spokeswoman, but he conveniently omitted to disclose when or how much of the bill he would reimburse.
While $1.7 million is a pittance compared to the Secret Service’s $2.4 billion budget, they are “wealthy people, with no role in government, whom the officers tailed to ski vacations, weekend residences, a Cabo San Lucas resort, and business trips abroad,” as the Post points out.
“Who wouldn’t enjoy continuing their free limo service and easy access to restaurant tables?” Jim Helminski, a former Secret Service executive, wondered aloud. “Even if there was a credible risk to family and associates of Trump, these people are now private citizens who can afford to hire some very talented private security firms for their personal protection.”