Trump's large family, frequent travels draining Secret Service's coffers
US President Donald Trump's large family and their frequent traveling has contributed to the financial woes of the Secret Service. Secret Service Director Randolph "Tex" Alles said with four months left before the year's end, the agency can no longer pay personnel to conduct its protective mission. Under Trump, the agency must protect 41 individuals, compared to 31 during the Obama administration.
The Secret Service is entrusted to protect present and former US presidents and vice-presidents, as well as their families. Additionally, they must also investigate and tackle certain financial crimes.
Alles said the agency has become overburdened due to Trump's weekend travel schedule to his properties in Florida, New Jersey and Virginia. Additionally, protection must be given to his children who travel abroad and domestically for business trips/vacations, on a regular basis. "The president has a large family, and our responsibility is required in law," said Alles. "I can't change that. I have no flexibility."
Alles warned that without additional funding, the agency will fail to pay agents for work they've already completed. Besides being owed money, agents are overworked, prompting many to resign. The agency's 1,100 agents are expected to be further strained due to upcoming events such as the convening of the UN General Assembly at New York, which nearly 150 foreign heads of state will attend.
The Secret Service has paid an estimated $3 million every time Trump visited his Mar-a-Lago golf resort in Florida. Trump has made seven trips to Mar-a-Lago and five to his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, leading to $60,000 worth of golf cart rental fees. His son Eric Trump's business trip to Uruguay led to protection costs worth $100,000.
"This issue is not one that can be attributed to the current Administration's protection requirements alone, but rather has been an ongoing issue for nearly a decade due to an overall increase in operational tempo," Alles said.