The Secret Service’s funds to pay agents has been depleted in large part by President Donald Trump and his family’s frequent travel and an increased number of people under agency protection, USA Today reported Monday.
USA Today spoke with Secret Service Director Randolph “Tex” Alles, who told the publication that more than 1,000 Secret Service agents have hit the mandated caps for salary and overtime allowances. That money was supposed to last the entire year.
The agents must protect Trump everywhere he goes, which has included trips nearly every weekend of his presidency to one of his properties, such as Mar-a-Lago in Florida and both his New Jersey and Virginia golf clubs. The Secret Service has also had to protect his adult children on business trips and vacations across the country and overseas, in addition to securing the family’s many residences along the East Coast.
Each of the president’s seven trips to Mar-a-Lago have cost an estimated $US3 million, according to a General Accounting Office estimate for similar travel made by President Barack Obama. The Secret Service has had to spend about $US60,000 just on golf cart rentals while at Mar-a-Lago and Trump’s Bedminster golf club in New Jersey.
The Trump administration has 42 people under Secret Service protection, up from 31 during Obama’s tenure in office, USA Today reported.
“The president has a large family, and our responsibility is required in law,” Alles told USA Today. “I can’t change that. I have no flexibility.”
Alles is pushing lawmakers to raise the combined salary and overtime cap for agents by nearly $US30,000 for at least the remainder of Trump’s first term in office. Without that approval, he said, he cannot pay agents for work they have already done. But even if that is approved, USA Today reported that Alles will not be able to fully compensate roughly 130 agents for their full work.
“I don’t see this changing in the near term,” Alles said.
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