On trips like these, Secret Service agents were there to protect Trump’s children. But, for the Trump family business, their visits also brought a hidden side benefit.
That’s because when Trump’s adult children visited Trump properties, Trump’s company charged the Secret Service for agents to come along. The president’s company billed the U.S. government hundreds, or thousands, of dollars for rooms agents used on each trip, as the agency sometimes booked multiple rooms or a multiroom rental cottage on the property
In this way, Trump’s adult children and their families have caused the U.S. government to spend at least $238,000 at Trump properties so far, according to Secret Service records obtained by The Washington Post.
Government ethics experts say that nothing is wrong with Trump’s children seeking protection from the Secret Service.
But, they said, the Trump Organization’s decision to charge for the agents’ rooms created a situation in which — just by traveling — Trump’s children could bring taxpayer money to their family’s business.
That, ethics experts said, could create the appearance that Trump family members were exploiting their publicly funded protection for private financial gain.
“Morally speaking, do they want to profit [from the fact] that their father’s in the White House?” said Scott Amey, of the watchdog group Project on Government Oversight. “They could very easily reimburse those expenses, so the federal government and the taxpayer are not on the hook for that tab.”
The Secret Service and the White House declined to comment for this article, as did Ivanka Trump — the president’s eldest daughter, who left the Trump Organization to work in government. The president’s other adult children — Eric, Donald Jr. and Tiffany — did not respond to requests for comment.
Eric Trump and Donald Jr. are said to run the Trump Organization day