Protecting the president isn’t easy or cheap, and according to estimates from The Washington Post, President Donald Trump and his family are on track to supersede what it cost to protect former President Barack Obama and his family by hundreds of millions of dollars, the newspaper reported on Thursday night.
Judicial Watch, a conservative group that tracked the cost of travel expenses for Obama, estimated that $US97 million was spent during his eight years in office.
However, based on the first four weeks of Trump’s presidency, which included three trips to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, Trump is well on his way to jump past that figure.
The Post rounded up a handful of estimates of the costs of protecting the Trump family incurred by the US departments of Defence and Homeland Security and local police agencies.
Here are a few:
- 3 trips to Mar-a-Lago since Trump’s inauguration may have cost about $US10 million, based on a government report from October that analysed White House travel, The Post said. The expenses include the cost of US Coast Guard patrol boats on the shoreline.
- Palm Beach County officials say they will request reimbursement of tens of thousands of dollars per day from the White House, for their deputies who provided security and logistical support around the city.
- Police officials estimate that it would cost New York $US500,000 a day, or $US183 million a year, to guard Trump Tower, where First Lady Melania Trump and Barron Trump live.
- Secret Service and embassy employees paid about $US100,000 in hotel room bills during Eric Trump’s trip to Uruguay, where he promoted a Trump-branded building.
- If the Pentagon successfully secures rental space in Trump Tower — needed for when the president returns to New York City — it could cost $US1.5 million per month, according to the building’s website.
- Secret Service paid $US12,000 for tents, portable toilets, light towers, and golf carts during Trump’s Super Bowl weekend trip to Mar-a-Lago.
“This is an expensive way to conduct business, and the president should recognise that,” said Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton. “The unique thing about President Trump is that he knows what it costs to run a plane,” Fitton said about Trump’s travel to Mar-a-Lago in Florida. He suggested Camp David may be the better choice, since Trump can easily get there by helicopter.
Funding the Trump family’s complex travel and protection needs may not be the only issue, The Post reported.
“There was an anticipation of how stressful it was going to be on the agency,” said Jonathan Wackrow, a 14-year Secret Service employee who served during Obama’s administration. “But the harsh reality is that the stress is just overwhelming.” According to Wackrow, agents are “at severe risk of burnout.”
The Secret Service, however, maintains that it is ready, willing, and able to protect Trump. “Every administration presents unique challenges to which the Secret Service has effectively adapted,” an agency statement cited by The Post read.
“Regardless of location . . . the Secret Service is confident in our security plan.”