President Trump’s luxury properties have charged the U.S. government more than $1.1 million since he took office – billing taxpayers for room rentals at his Bedminster, N.J., golf club this spring while it was closed due to coronavirus, a new document show.
The documents show an additional $188,000 in previously unknown charges to the Post’s running tally of payments to Trump’s properties related to the presence of Secret Service agents.
Trump’s private club billed the Secret Service more than $21,800 to rent a cottage and other rooms while the club was supposed to be closed to guests. The documents offer no explanation of the charges.
Trump, himself, never visited the club while it was closed, but his daughter Ivanka Trump and her family purportedly visited the sprawling estate at least once in April to celebrate Passover, the Post reported. During that time, both Washington, D.C., and New Jersey had imposed strict “stay-at-home” orders due to the spread of coronavirus.
However, it does not appear that Ivanka Trump broke any laws.
While no laws were broken, the invoices released by the Secret Service highlight the relationship the president’s private businesses continue to have with the U.S. government — one that purportedly sees trips to his private club on taxpayer dime translate to more money for him.
Lisa Gilbert, executive vice president at Public Citizen, a watchdog group, called the new charges “appalling.”
“They’re nickel-and-diming the American people,” she said. “At a moment when every penny counts.”
The newly-released documents show that the Bedminster property charged the Secret Service $17,000 a month to rent a three-bedroom cottage near Trump’s own villa. The rate — which comes to about $567 a night — is unusually high, according to a scan of similar real estate listings in the area.
In all, The Washington Post reported that the Secret Service paid to stay in Bedminster for more than 200 days when Trump was not even on the property. A similar trend took place at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida.
Charging taxpayers premium prices for lodging at Trump properties is not new.
Last year, Trump’s son Eric Trump told Yahoo Finance that the Trump Organization was charging the government nominal fees — “like 50 bucks” per room.