The U.S. Secret Service has asked for an additional $60 million in funding for the next year — $26.8 million of which would go toward guarding President Trump ‘s family and private home in Trump Tower, according to a Washington Post review of internal agency documents.
The other $33 million would cover travel costs incurred by “the president, vice president and other visiting heads of state,” according to the documents, which are part of the Secret Service’s request for the fiscal 2018 budget.
Secret Service agents are tasked with protecting the Trump Tower penthouse where First Lady Melania Trump and her 10-year-old son, Barron, live; guarding the president during his routine weekend getaways to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida; and traveling around the world with his sons as they promote Trump properties.
The documents reviewed by The Post did not include details on funding needs for past presidents. But The Post reports that: “the $26.8 million budget item is marked as $0 in previous years, which former Secret Service agents said likely meant that the costs were part of a new budget category designed to encapsulate the unusual expense of protecting the first lady and the president’s youngest son because they live outside the White House.”
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A source with knowledge of the Secret Service’s internal budget discussions told The Post that the requests for additional funding have been rejected by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget — which means the agency will likely have to dip into other funding to cover the additional costs of protecting the president and his family, the newspaper says.
And the Secret Service doesn’t have much choice in the matter.
Longtime Secret Service employee Jonathan Wackrow tells The Post, “The Secret Service cannot dictate the lifestyle of the protectee. They have to work around it. I don’t think they expected him to go to Florida so often. This was an unanticipated reality.”
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Trump has gone to Mar-a-Lago five times since his inauguration two months ago. The Post reported earlier this month that Trump’s first three Mar-a-Lago weekends alone have cost taxpayers $10 million dollars .
His most recent trip this past weekend came one day after the president proposed a federal budget that would slash funding for many government programs — a juxtaposition that did not go unnoticed by Twitter.
Trump’s budget eliminates federal funding for NPR, NEA. If he stopped going to Mar-a-Lago, we could keep them. #mtp https://t.co/hQj0nyVWdx
— Skylar Baker-Jordan (@SkylarJordan) March 19, 2017
@POTUS how do you sleep at night?! Meals on Wheels ($3 mill) vs weekend at Mar-a-Lago for you $3 mill) https://t.co/mnOjwABbvb
— NastyWoman (@ResistVocally) March 16, 2017
A reminder that Trump’s 4 weekends at Mar-a-Lago cost more than his slashed annual budget for the Great Lakes Restoration Fund.
— Stephen Lautens (@stephenlautens) March 4, 2017
Trump repeatedly criticized former President Barack Obama for taking vacations while in office, accusing him of playing fast and loose with taxpayer dollars. And on the campaign trail last year, Trump vowed to avoid vacations and expensive travel.
“There’s no time for vacation. We’re not going to be big on vacations,” he said at a campaign rally. “The White House is this incredible place. It represents so much, and you’re there for a limited period of time. If you’re at the White House and you have so much work to do, why do you fly? Why do you leave so much?”
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