Secret Service Has Paid As Much As $650 A Night For Rooms At Trump Properties
President Donald Trump’s company charges the Secret Service for the rooms they require while protecting the president at his luxury properties, but contrary to public statements from the Trump Organization, Secret Service is paying some hefty prices.
The Washington Post reported that the service has paid room rates as high as $650 per night, according to federal records and individuals who have seen the receipts.
The charges “show that Trump has an unprecedented — and largely hidden — business relationship with his own government,” The Post noted. Though Trump’s company claims it charges only minimal fees for the Secret Service’s needs for posting guards and storing equipment, service records paint an entirely different picture.
Mar-a-Lago “charged the $650 rate dozens of times in 2017, and a different rate, $396.15, dozens more times in 2018, according to documents from Trump’s visits.”
At the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster, a three-bedroom cottage on the property cost the Secret Service $17,000 per month in 2017, which The Post noted was unusually high for homes in that area. It remains unclear how many months the cottage was rented, but the newspaper said Trump’s company billed for cottage even on days when no Secret Service members were present.
The records defy previous statements from Eric Trump — the president’s son who together with his brother, Donald Trump Jr., runs day-to-day operations at the Trump Organization while their father is in office.
Last year in an interview, Eric Trump told Yahoo News: “If my father travels, they stay at our properties for free — meaning, like, cost for housekeeping.”
The presidential son has also said of his father’s travel: “If he stays at one of his places, the government actually . . . saves a fortune because, if they were to go to a hotel across the street, they’d be charging them $500 a night, whereas, you know we charge them, like 50 bucks.”
This appears to be untrue — at least until 2018. Because no parties involved are willing to produce documentation of Secret Service charges or payments, it is impossible to know what rates the agency is currently paying.
The Post noted that Secret Service payments typically would be found in public records databases, such as usaspending.gov; however, these are not, and news organizations and government watchdog groups have been forced to file Freedom of Information Act requests to gain access to the information.
In all, the records reviewed by The Post “show more than $471,000 in payments from taxpayers to Trump’s companies. But — because these records cover only a fraction of Trump’s travel during a fraction of his term — the actual total is likely to be higher.”