Trump's children and former staffers to get Secret Service protection at taxpayers' expense: report

The ex-president's order of Secret Service protection for his adult children and top loyalists will cost millions

By Jon Skolnik
January 21, 2021 7:30PM (UTC)
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Advisor to the President, Ivanka Trump, and president Donald Trump and attend an event on women's empowerment during the G20 Summit in Osaka on June 29, 2019. (Getty/Brendan Smialowski)

As one of Donald Trump's final abuses of the office of the presidency, he extended Secret Service Protection beyond himself and his wife Melania –– as is guaranteed in the Former Presidents Act –– to 14 additional family members and former administration staffers, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

Congress originally voted in 1994 to cap security protections for former Presidents at ten years. President Obama, however, reversed his vote in 2012 under the assumption the Secret Service would be used responsibly.  Of course, Trump has done just the opposite. 

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Those protected by Trump's 11th-hour directive will include his youngest son Barron (until he's sixteen), Tiffany Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, and members of their own families. Trump also saw to it that many of his former staff receive the same protections, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and former National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien. Vice President Pence and his wife, Karen Pence, are also included. 

This 6-month, 24-hour security detail is expected to cost American taxpayers millions of dollars. Although the Secret Service does not typically divulge the cost of their operations, it's believed to be in the tens of millions of dollars annually.

It's not unusual for outgoing Presidents to request Secret Service details for their families before leaving office. Former President Bush, Obama, and Clinton all asked that a temporary security detail be assigned to their families. However, the full extent of the Trump family's security sets a record. After all, many of Trump's children are well into adulthood and could pay for their own private detail. 

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The directive is one of the Trump family's latest abuses of the Secret Service. 

Earlier this month, for example, it was revealed that Trump's daughter Ivanka and his son-in law Jared Kushner did not permit the Secret Service agents guarding their 6.5-bathroom estate in D.C. to use the bathrooms inside, instead requiring that the agents use a porta-potty outside. The agents were also instructed to use a garage bathroom at former president Barack Obama's house, and later, a guard station bathroom one mile away, just outside of Vice President Pence's house. 

Trump's last-minute security directive also fits squarely into the family's misuse of taxpayer money. According to The Post, Trump's adult children went on nearly 4,500 trips for both business and vacation on account of the Trump Organization. All of these trips required that the Secret Service travel alongside them. 

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"The cost of protecting the president and members of the extended first family, who have traveled extensively for business and vacations," reported The Post, "has strained the Secret Service, local governments and at least one other federal agency, the Coast Guard." 

The Trump childrens' rarified excursions were estimated to cost tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer money. It is not outside the realm of possibility that, for the next six months –– yes, even in a pandemic –– the Trump family will squeeze out of taxpayers tens of millions more. 

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Jon Skolnik

Jon Skolnik is a staff writer at Salon. His work has appeared in Current Affairs, The Baffler, AlterNet, and The New York Daily News.

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Donald Trump Ivanka Trump Secret Service Steve Mnuchin Taxpayer Waste