'No transparency -- we pay': Experts appalled at Secret Service agents paying $650 per night to stay at Trump properties
Donald Trump playing golf, as he has about 30 hours a week during his presidency. (Screenshot)

A new report from the Washington Post on Friday revealed that Secret Service agents are paying as much as $650 per night to stay at President Donald Trump's properties, which directly contradicts claims from the Trump family that staying at his resorts saves taxpayers money.

Even though Eric Trump has claimed that the Trump Organization only charges "minimal" fees to the Secret Service for staying at its properties, Secret Service documents reviewed by the Post show that the agency "was charged the $650 rate dozens of times in 2017, and a different rate, $396.15, dozens more times in 2018."

The revelations that the Secret Service is being charged high rates to stay at the president's properties appalled many reporters and experts who have been tracking ethics issues about how the president is using his office to enrich himself.

Andrea Bernstein, the host of WNYC's "Trump, Inc." podcast, said that the opaqueness of the president's travels to his properties gives him the ability to make money at taxpayers' expense.

"Trump decides which property to visit, and how long," she writes on Twitter. "There is no transparency on how staffing and spending decisions are made for Secret Service & other staff. We pay."

New York Daily News reporter Michael McAuliff notes that the Secret Service documents "dramatically contradict" Eric Trump's claim that Secret Service agents only get charged $50 per night when staying at Trump properties, whereas they would get charged $500 per night "if they were to go to a hotel across the street."

Anand Giridharadas, an editor at Time who has written extensively about economic inequality, expressed horror at the way Trump is making money from his office.

"Donald Trump is asking truck drivers in Pennsylvania to work longer hours so they can pay higher taxes so that those taxes can go to the Secret Service, which can then pay President Trump to stay in his properties while protecting him," he writes. "This is a de facto Trump tax increase. He is keeping taxes higher than they would otherwise have to be if he wasn’t pocketing your money."

And Tiffany Bond, a candidate for the U.S. Senate from Maine, put Trump's self-enrichment into perspective by comparing its costs to his administration's efforts to kick people off food stamps.

"The average SNAP award per participant in Maine in 2018 was $108/month," she writes. "Each $650/night hotel charge could help 6 Mainers not starve for a month."