Why did Trump extend Secret Service protection for adult children at last minute, and how much will it cost?
In what comes as a last in a series of final acts by Former President Donald Trump, he granted extended Secret Service protections to his four adult children and their spouses before he left the White House. In addition to his family, three top administration officials were also granted security.
Trump signed a memorandum before leaving office instructing that his family get the protection of the U.S. Secret Service for the next six months at no cost, according to a report carried by Washington Post on Wednesday. The arrangement is not going to be paid by the Trumps, which means that it is likely going to cost American taxpayers millions of dollars, especially considering the Trumps' expensive lifestyle.
The newspaper reported that according to three people briefed on the plan, Trump issued a directive to extend post-presidency Secret Service protection to his four adult children and two of their spouses, who were not automatically entitled to receive it. Under federal law, Melania Trump and son 14-year-old son Barron are the only immediate Trump family eligible for Secret Service protection. Typically, the secret service protection applies to children up to the age of 16-years-old, but by signing the memorandum, Trump has ensured that his family gets all protection.
Who will pay for the security?
The taxpayer-funded security will be extended to Trump's four adult children and their spouses - Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and wife Lara Trump, and Tiffany Trump, the three insiders familiar with the president's request told The Post. Additionally, former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and former National Security Advisor Robert C. O'Brien were also granted Secret Service protections by the president, according to The Post report.
This comes as an additional blow worth millions to taxpayers as the security was also deployed to protect president Joe Biden and his family and Vice President Kamala Harris and their families, including Biden's two adult children and Harris' two stepchildren, after they were sworn in as Trump’s successor on January 20, 2021. So not only are citizens paying for the President of the country but also for the ex-Pres.
The extended security detail could cost taxpayers millions of dollars, The Post reported, especially given the amount of travelling that the Trump children do related to the family company, the Trump Organization. "From 2017 to 2019, government records show, Trump family members took more than 4,500 trips that required the Secret Service to travel alongside them, costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars," according to The Post report
Trump's history of lavish expenditures
A 2019 Government Accountability Office report on Secret Service spending found that during February and March of 2017, $390,000 was spent just to protect Trump’s family and their spouses on trips, while Trump himself cost $1.6 million for trips back and forth to his club Mar-a-Lago in Florida during the same time period.
According to a report in The Washington Post, the Secret Service rented a studio for $3,000 a month near Ivanka Trump and Kushner’s Washington home to give agents access to a bathroom, as they were not allowed to relieve themselves in any of the home’s half-dozen bathrooms.
Presidents are able to appoint Secret Service protection to anyone they choose to after leaving office, but no president in recent history has done so for as many people like Trump.
Former presidents Bill Clinton and George W Bush extended protection for their children after leaving office, who were then college-aged. Barack Obama reportedly sought extended protection for his two daughters, who were school-aged when he left office.