Trump’s Company Charged Secret Service Hefty Rates

Trump’s Company Charged Secret Service Hefty Rates

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Plus: Trump's 2021 budget is coming
Friday, February 7, 2020

Trump’s Company Charged Secret Service Hefty Rates for Stays: Report

The Secret Service paid President Trump’s company rates as high as $650 a night for rooms used by agents protecting the president, The Washington Post reports based on documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

“Those charges, compiled here for the first time, show that Trump has an unprecedented — and largely hidden — business relationship with his own government,” the Post’s David A. Fahrenthold, Jonathan O'Connell, Carol D. Leonnig and Josh Dawsey write. “The records show more than $471,000 in payments from taxpayers to Trump’s companies. But — because these records cover only a fraction of Trump’s travel during a fraction of his term — the actual total is likely to be higher.”

The Post notes that since taking office Trump has spent more than 342 days, or a third of his presidency, at his private clubs and hotels.

The Secret Service reportedly has failed to file some required reports detailing its spending to protect Trump at his properties, and the administration has stonewalled efforts by Democrats to get a full accounting of the costs of Trump’s travel. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has sought to delay Secret Service disclosures until after the 2020 elections.

In a statement to the Post, the Secret Service said that its spending “balances operational security with judicious allocation of resources.”

Why it matters: The records suggest that the president and his company are making significant money off taxpayers, despite assurances from the Trump Organization and the president’s family members that the government is only being charged minimal fees at Trump properties. “So everywhere that he goes, if he stays at one of his places, the government actually spends, meaning it saves a fortune because if they were to go to a hotel across the street, they’d be charging them $500 a night, whereas, you know we charge them, like $50,” Eric Trump, the president’s son, said last year. That appears to be untrue.

The Post says other recent presidents have allowed the Secret Service to use their properties for free, though former Vice President Joe Biden did charge $2,200 a month in rent for a cottage on his property. Biden was paid a total of $171,600 over six years. Trump topped that total in less than three months.

What to Look For in Trump’s 2021 Budget: CBPP

President Trump’s agenda for a possible second term is still on the drawing board, according to The Wall Street Journal’s Andrew Restucci, and aides are reportedly in the early stages of drafting policies addressing a variety of issues, including prescription drug prices, infrastructure, immigration reform, tax cuts and deficit reduction.

We may get some clues about the still-forming agenda when the White House releases its 2021 budget request early next week. Analysts at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities on Friday highlighted five key issues that could signal the administration’s agenda for the next fiscal year — and potentially the next five years, should Trump win reelection.

1. Some kind of health care plan: The White House is backing a lawsuit that would invalidate the Affordable Care Act, potentially eliminating health coverage for 20 million people and ending protections for pre-existing conditions. The administration says it has a plan to deal with those issues, and the budget could provide some details, which have been lacking thus far.

2. Slashing discretionary spending? Trump’s first two budgets eliminated the deficit over 10 years and his third budget did so over 15 years, in large part by slashing non-defense discretionary spending. But Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said this week that the 2021 budget would not reach balance within the 10 year window, though he did say the deficit would be reduced “significantly.” Mnuchin also blamed the current $1 trillion deficit on excess spending rather than tax cuts, which he once again claimed would pay for themselves. Next week’s release should reveal just how deep the proposed cuts to the discretionary budget will be — which could be a tricky issue in an election year.

3. Cutting the safety net: Trump’s previous budgets have outlined deep cuts for programs that assist low-income households, including, for example, a $220 billion reduction in the main food assistance program over 10 years. The White House has largely failed to enact its cuts through legislation but is pushing through some reductions via executive action. The budget will likely indicate the administration’s level of interest in continuing to cut back those programs.

4. Rethinking infrastructure: Last year’s budget request referred to a $1 trillion infrastructure plan, although the details were a bit hazy and it would have cut federal spending on infrastructure in the long run. The administration may reconsider the issue with an eye on the election.

5. Tax cuts and inequality: The 2017 tax cuts overwhelmingly benefited upper-income households, exacerbating income inequality. The individual tax cuts are set to expire in 2026, and the budget request will reveal if the administration continues to support maintaining the cuts past that date.

Quote of the Day

“After all, who better to make the argument for raising taxes on the wealthy than me?”

– Billionaire Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg, in a New York Times op-ed touting his recently released tax plan, which would raise an estimated $5 trillion over 10 years.

Chart of the Day

The federal government’s total non-defense discretionary spending — which covers everything from education and national parks to veterans’ medical care and low-income housing assistance — equals 3.2% of GDP in 2020, near historic lows going back to 1962, according to an analysis this week from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Bernie Sanders May Be Leading, but Don't Bet on Medicare for All, J.P Morgan Says

Sen. Bernie Sanders may have emerged from the muddled Iowa caucuses as the apparent frontrunner in the Democratic presidential primary race, with both and prediction markets giving him the best odds of winning the party’s nomination.

Even so, analysts at J.P. Morgan say the chances that Sanders’ major policy proposals, including Medicare for All and a wealth tax, get enacted in the foreseeable future are extremely slim — less than 5%.

J.P. Morgan economist Jesse Edgerton writes in a note to clients:

“[F]or Medicare-for-all or a wealth tax to become reality, it would require Democrats to sweep the presidency and both houses of Congress, and it would require them to assemble either a large-enough majority to avoid the Senate filibuster or a committed-enough majority to triumph in a bare-knuckled procedural fight. However, the other Democratic presidential candidates have already shown their ambivalence toward dramatic changes like Medicare-for-All, and more conservative Democratic senators would likely be even more skeptical. It thus seems unlikely for all of these stars to align at once—a Sanders/Warren nomination, a Democratic presidential and congressional sweep, and an upswell of support around currently-controversial policies. We thus put the probability of dramatic policy changes like this at less than 5%.”

Your Prize for Making It Through the Week

Looking to prove your policy chops? Try this quiz on health care issues and the election from the Kaiser Family Foundation. If that sounds more like work than a prize, and you’d rather sit back this weekend while waiting for the Oscars awards show on Sunday, here’s an opiniated take from the AV Club on who should win and why.

Don't forget, the Democratic presidential candidates will hold another debate tonight at 8 p.m. ET ahead of Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary. You can watch it on ABC or online at or

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