Trump family members had Secret Service protection on over 4,000 trips from 2017 to 2019: analysis
President Trump’s family members had Secret Service protection on more than 4,000 trips in the first three years of his term, according to figures released by a government watchdog group.
According to data obtained by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Trump family members took 4,560 trips, many of which were to Trump-owned properties, from which the president still profits. The group also found that 40 percent of trips taken in 2019 were distinct from those that Trump and the first lady took.
“Every President and his family deserve Secret Service protection. But the President’s private business should reimburse taxpayers for money spent at Trump’s businesses or in support of them,” the watchdog group wrote in an announcement.
Trump was a vocal critic of former President Obama’s travel, saying Obama was spending too many days away from the White House.
However, the data compiled by CREW showed that the Trump family far surpassed the number of trips the Obama family took, with 1,625 trips annually compared with the Obama family’s 133.3.
There could be multiple reasons protected travel spiked under Trump, such as the fact that he has more children, including adult children who run and travel for the Trump Organization.
Yet the differences were still stark between the Trump and Obama years. Trump and his family members took roughly 4,200 trips in fiscal years 2018 and 2019, roughly the same number the Obamas took from 2010 to 2015.
It is unclear how much of a strain the trips have taken on the Secret Service, though the agency did say in 2017 that its agents would be forced to work overtime without being paid if its budget did not grow.
“Of course the Trump family is entitled to Secret Service protection, and should be protected, but increasing the volume by more than a factor of ten has put a strain on the agency’s budget. So much so, that the Secret Service has had to justify the spike in protective travel costs in its congressional budget requests for the past two years,” CREW said. “That appears to be the only reason the number of protected visits has been made public at all.”