Protecting Trump family comes with additional $60mn price tag – US Secret Service
Nearly half of the funding request – $26.8 million – would be allocated to protect President Trump’s family and private home in Trump Tower in New York City, the documents show, which were obtained by the Washington Post.
First Lady Melania Trump and son Barron live in the residence in a three-floor penthouse apartment. That portion of the funding request is needed for “resident security operations at the president’s private residence in Trump Tower,” with roughly $12.5 million earmarked to cover “personnel related costs in New York,” according to the documents.
The Washington Post calculated that some of the public funding for Trump Tower security could benefit the Trump Organization, with the necessity of the Department of Defense and Secret Service renting space in Trump Tower for command centers, agents’ room and board, and communications expenses. Details on how much space and at what cost are not available.
Protecting the president in Trump Tower has already created a budget gap in New York City, where the police department estimated in February that costs for protecting the first lady and her son were $127,000 to $146,000 a day, which rises to $308,000 per day when the president joins them, according to the New York Times. Those costs could total $50 million a year in NYPD expenses alone.
The remaining $33 million, on top of the agency’s $734 million request, would be spent on travel costs incurred by “the president, vice president and other visiting heads of state.”
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) rejected the request when it was presented in February, the Washington Post reported, but once the story was printed, OMB contacted the Post to say that its denial of the $26.8 million request for Trump Tower and family expenses was “outright untrue,” the OMB “supported its funding,” and the Secret Service “was continuing to refine its budgetary estimate.”
Since the inauguration, Trump has travelled to his Palm Beach, Florida club on five separate weekends. Secret Service agents also accompany Trump’s two sons, Eric and Donald Jr., who now lead the Trump Organization, on trips around the globe to promote their properties.
Palm Beach County officials are also smarting at the increase in costs to protect the president, as they have spent more than $1.5 million in overtime pay to deputies guarding the resort, which Trump has taken to calling “the southern White House” and “winter White House.”
County officials have proposed levying a special fee on the resort; otherwise they say they will have to raise local taxes on residents. The Coast Guard is also providing round-the clock patrols for the two coastlines around the resort, costing $1,500 an hour.
The Washington Post was not able to find a comparison of funding needs for past presidents, and the Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security declined to provide cost breakdowns.
If the Secret Service does not receive additional funds, it likely will have to divert resources from other units, such as cybercrime and counterfeit money-related cases, the Post reported.
There is renewed interest in the costs of protecting the first family, as the Trump administration has proposed massive budget cuts to agencies across the government, with several divisions set to lose the entirety of their federal funding.