American taxpayers have paid another bill to President Donald Trump's resorts and clubs because he couldn't accommodate the necessary security that travels with the U.S. leader.
According to the Washington Post's Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter David Fahrenthold, there was another hefty bill paid by taxpayers because Trump prefers to spend his weekends at his own properties instead of in Washington.
Fahrenthold described a trip to Mar-a-Lago where all of the rooms near the president were booked, putting Secret Service in a difficult position.
“I do have a Beach Cabana available,” a Mar-a-Lago staff member told the Secret Service while planning for a March 2017 visit. “Across the street at the Beach Club, north end of the pool.”
Recently obtained emails showed that the Secret Service took a different tactic the next time, renting out rooms near Trump's for two weeks at a time so that the club couldn't rent them out to others.
"Saying 'no' to the Secret Service had made it a better customer," wrote the Post. "The agency was paying for rooms on nights when Trump wasn’t even visiting — to be ready just in case Trump decided to go, one former Trump administration official said."
A brilliant money-making plot for the president.
It was his third week on the job when Trump fled to Mar-a-Lago, costing more than most people make in two months.
"On that trip, the Secret Service reserved a house, a cottage, two suites and two hotel rooms from the club to guard the president, according to newly released documents," said the Post. "The Secret Service paid $10,660 for the weekend, federal records show. The Secret Service declined to comment for this article.
In the nearly four years Trump has been in office, he has spent the equivalent of one year at his own properties.
"Through these trips, Trump has brought the Trump Organization a stream of private revenue from federal agencies and GOP campaign groups," said the report. "Federal spending records show that taxpayers have paid Trump’s businesses more than $900,000 since he took office. At least $570,000 came as a result of the president’s travel, according to a Post analysis."
The Post obtained 265 pages of receipts and emails from the Secret Service in response to a lawsuit. Federal spending records showing the detailed breakdown of how the Trump Organization is profiting off of the Secret Service.
"In addition to the rentals at Mar-a-Lago, the documents show that the Trump Organization charged daily 'resort fees' to Secret Service agents guarding Vice President Pence in Las Vegas and in another instance asked agents to pay a $1,300 'furniture removal charge' during a presidential visit to a Trump resort in Scotland."
The documents also show the payments that the Trump Org. scored from Republican and conservative groups hosting meetings or events at Trump properties. They've totaled at least $3.8 million in fees, the Post determined.
Trump "tried to award the massive Group of Seven summit to his Doral resort in Miami, dropping the idea after a public backlash," the Post recalled. "He filmed video messages for big-spending private clients at Mar-a-Lago. He suggested that Pence visit a Trump property in Ireland, according to the vice president’s chief of staff. Pence then shuttled back and forth across Ireland, at U.S. taxpayer expense, to do government business on one coast and stay at Trump’s hotel on the other."
But the biggest money-maker has been for Trump to simply visit his properties and charge American taxpayers so his entourage can follow.
When asked to comment about the Trump Organization, the White House spokesperson lashed out at the Post instead of answering questions.
“The Washington Post is blatantly interfering with the business relationships of the Trump Organization, and it must stop,” White House spokesman Judd Deere wrote in a statement. “Please be advised that we are building up a very large ‘dossier’ on the many false David Fahrenthold and others stories as they are a disgrace to journalism and the American people.”
Deere never answered the question.
It's still unknown just how much money the U.S. government has paid to the Trump Organization as financial filings are often ignored. The Secret Service is supposed to file their spending to the U.S. Congress twice a year, but since Trump has been in office, they have missed all but two of those required reports.