President Donald Trump’s frequent travel, large family and unusual living situation are apparently weighing heavily on the Secret Service’s budget.
The agency recently requested an additional $60 million in spending for fiscal year 2018, according to a Washington Post report on Tuesday. Nearly $27 million of that was to be earmarked for security at the president’s private residence at Trump Tower in New York, where first lady Melania Trump lives with their 11-year-old son. The Secret Service also said it needed another $33 million to cover travel costs incurred by “the president, vice president and other visiting heads of state.”
The Office of Management and Budget rejected the request, a source told the Post, which could potentially force the Secret Service to scale back on other operations, like investigations into cyber hacking, counterfeit currency, financial crimes or missing and exploited minors.
The Post report comes amid questions about the president’s regular weekend jaunts to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Trump has made at least five trips to the “Southern White House” since his inauguration, each time costing taxpayers an estimated $3 million or more.
Providing Secret Service details for the first lady and the rest of Trump’s family, including his four adult sons and daughters, has also led to mounting costs. Although this level of protection is standard for the first family, the specific needs of Trump’s older children have attracted scrutiny.
In February, for example, Eric Trump flew to Uruguay to promote the Trump Organization. The trip ended up costing taxpayers nearly $90,000 in hotel bills for the Secret Service agents who accompanied him, leading to renewed criticism of how the president’s business interests intertwine with government functions.
The idea of taxpayers footing higher bills to protect the wealthy Trumps may not sit well with critics of the harsh federal budget the president released last week. Trump’s plan proposes eliminating a number of antipoverty programs.
At a press conference this week, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said there was no hypocrisy here.
“Presidents always travel,” said Spicer. “The president, wherever he goes, he carries the apparatus of the White House with us. That is just something that happens.”