From day one, President Trump’s campaign and presidency have been unusual. His lifestyle, celebrity, and his oddly large family have created numerous challenges in the transition to the White House as well as the first few months he has spent in office. Now, Trump’s lifestyle is starting to wear on the agencies that are responsible for serving and protecting the President of the United States and the First Family. This, of course, includes the Secret Service.
President Trump is an anomoly in the White House. He has a large family for one. Not only does he have his wife, Melania and young son Barron to worry about. He also has four other adult children from previous marriages (Donald Jr., Eric, Ivanka, and Tiffany) as well as eight grandchildren. This is a large and unconventional family that needs to be monitored and protected.
On top of that, President Trump has a tendency to travel quite a bit, as do his children. And, since the President was sworn into office, his wife and youngest son have not been back to the White House and are instead, living at Trump Tower in New York City where Barron attends an exclusive private school.
The Secret Service’s budget is feeling the burden of these circumstances. Recently, they requested a budget increase of $60 million dollars for the fiscal year of 2018. The $60 million number was originally reported by the Washington Post. This astronomical figure is astounding in and of itself and is made even more shocking by the fact that $27 million of that is geared toward protecting his family at Trump Tower in New York City.
On top of all that, the Secret Service states that they need $33 million to cover for the travel expenses for the vice president, president, and other political leaders. While the reasons behind the Secret Service requests for additional funding seem outlandish, the request itself to fund an agency responsible for extensive important services and protections is not. That being said, it has been reported that this funding request was denied.
The denial of this request by the Office of Management and Budget could mean that the Secret Service will be forced to shift funds allocated to protecting against cyber attacks, investigating serious financial crimes, and finding exploited and missing minors to the protection of the President and First Family. The problem here is that an agency that serves the American people and is funded by taxpayer dollars will have to cut funds for important programs that help to protect the people funding the program.
This news comes on the heels of numerous news reports that document the ever-growing costs to taxpayers of the travels and lifestyle of the President and his family. The near-weekly trips that Donald Trump makes to the Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida is estimated to cost taxpayers $3 million dollars each. Eric Trump traveled to the nation of Uruguay on official business for a Trump business. Because he is a member of the FIrst Family, the trip cost taxpayers an estimated near $90,000.
While Presidents of the United States have always traveled, both for vacations and on official White House business, the issue is the frequency of the leisure travel. These regular trips are expensive and show a lack of respect for the taxpayers pauing travel costs for a billionaire. Additionally, the issue of conflicts of interest when the taxpayers are paying for Eric Trump’s official business travels (for the President’s Trump businesses) is something of major concern.
Only time will tell what the Secret Service will do as far as budget is concerned or whether or not the costs of keeping the Trump Family secure will finally level out and the travel will slow down. Hopefully, it does not come down to cutting down on services to accommodate the President’s lavish lifestyle.