LEECH: Trump still bleeding taxpayers with exorbitant Secret Service travel and accommodations costs
Over a year after Donald Trump left the White House, he is still costing taxpayers substantial sums of money to pay for the housing and transportation of the Secret Service agents who are still assigned to protect the former president, according to a report in The Daily Beast.
With Trump shuttling between his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida and his New Jersey golf club, transportation costs have reached over half a million dollars for spending on rental cars and air and rail travel.
Meanwhile, the Secret Service has spent $788,286 on hotel rooms, although in a single bit of good news from The Daily Beast‘s reporting, at least some of the federal agents are no longer paying the inflated prices for rooms at the Trump organization-owned properties.
Instead, they have found accommodations at nearby Hilton, Marriott, and Homewood Suites properties.
The move came after The Washington Post revealed last year that Trump was charging the Secret Service $396 per night — for rooms at Mar-a-Lago, totaling $40,011 during the first three months after he left office.
The Daily Beast notes that the $1.3 million in hotel and transportation costs that they extracted from a public documents request represents “only a fraction of the overall cost of protection” for the twice-impeached former president whom many people believe doesn’t deserve the government-provided security given his instigation of the January 6th insurrection last year.
That total does not include an additional $1.7 million it reportedly cost American taxpayers to fulfill Trump’s decision while still in office to extend Secret Service protection to his wealthy adult children and other former Trump administration officials for an extra six months as they traveled the world on pricey ski vacations and weekend jaunts.
Yes, your tax dollars paid for a Secret Service detail for former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin — a multi-millionaire with an estimated net worth of approximately $450 million — when he went on a private business trip to Israel and Qatar to make even more money five months after he left office.
By law, all former presidents are afforded the courtesy of lifetime protection by a 24-hour Secret Service team as per the Former Presidents Protection Act of 2012.
Once the latest cost figures were released, the Secret Service declined to comment on how the numbers they revealed compared to the costs of guarding the other former presidents, claiming the need for secrecy.
“Due to the need to maintain operational security, the U.S. Secret Service does not comment on the means, methods, or resources used to conduct our protective operations,” agency spokesman Kang Lee told The Daily Beast.
According to the publication:
“But it’s impossible to tell if the former president’s criminally indicted company, The Trump Organization, is charging elevated rates for taking up seats on his personal jet, because the agency completely redacted all flight expenses. The agency claimed that information would violate personal privacy and disclose law enforcement techniques and procedures.”
Hopefully, the Secret Service will be able to hand off guard duties for Donald Trump to employees of another federal agency once Trump is indicted and convicted for his alleged crimes and winds up in federal prison, as many Americans so anxiously anticipate.
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Original reporting by Jose Pagliery and Asawin Suebsaeng at The Daily Beast.
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Vinnie Longobardo is the Managing Editor of Occupy Democrats. He's a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.