Donald Trump is out of the White House but still running up tabs that taxpayers inevitably have to pay.
According to newly released records obtained by the Washington Post, the U.S. Secret Service paid more than $10,000 for room rentals at one Trump’s resorts back in May. The charges were for an 18-day stay at the Trump National golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, where the former POTUS has been staying since May 9. The Post reports the total charges for the month were $10,199.52, which amounts to $566 per night.
After leaving the White House in January, Trump moved to his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, and remained there until early May. During that time, the club charged the Secret Service approximately $40,000 so that agents could rent rooms close to the former president.
The Post also obtained a “hotel request” form that indicated agents planned to stay at the New Jersey resort until at least July 1, meaning the total charges for May likely exceeded the reported $10,200.
“The service is more focused on the protective necessity, as opposed to, ‘How much is it going to cost after the fact?’ There’s nothing they can do” if rates are high, said Jonathan Wackrow, a longtime Secret Service agent who now works for the consulting firm Teneo. “It’s a question of not, ‘Can they do it?’ but ‘Should they be charging that much?’?”
The Post also pointed to several bills that showed $3,400 worth of resort charges for the months of January, February, and early May, prior to Trump’s arrival. The agency did not reveal what the charges were for.
It’s worth noting that it’s completely legal for Trump and his businesses to charge the Secret Service any amount of rent at his properties, regardless if he’s in or out of office. Furthermore, the agency is reportedly obligated to cover the costs of rentals that will allow agents to best protect the clients.
“He obviously should have Secret Service protection,” said Jordan Libowitz, Communications Director at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “[But] there’s no reason that his company should not do the patriotic thing, and just comp the government for the security it is providing him.”
According to government spending records, Trump’s companies have charged the U.S. more than $2.5 million during his presidency. President Joe Biden is reportedly the only other protected person who has charged the government for rent. While serving as Barack Obama’s vice president, Biden charged the Secret Service about $2,200 to rent a cottage on his Delaware property. The total rent costs came to $171,600 between 2011 and 2017. The Post reports Biden has not charged the Secret Service rent since taking office earlier this year.
His taxpayer bill wouldn’t be as high if they would just send him to jail where he belongs.