Whenever the White House is in crisis, chances are Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are not around. The power couple, who serve as senior advisers to U.S. President Donald Trump, have a tendency to disappear on vacation when things get hairy at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
One of those instances was after the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, VA, which was followed by the U.S. president's refusal to outright condemn white supremacists in August 2017. After the crisis, the spouses escaped to the Twin Farms Resort & Spa in Barnard, VT, for a two-day getaway. A new New York Daily News report has found that the cost for Secret Service protection during that quick vacation was roughly $14,000 USD in American taxpayer money.
A Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Daily News found that traveling and lodging expenses for the agents tasked with protecting the couple came out to $13,940 USD. According to the Daily News, Secret Service spent eight days in the area, even though Trump and Kushner were only there for two days. And although the hotel costs were almost twice the per diem rates determined by the U.S. General Services Administration, agents were allowed to surpass the limits because it was high season for the region.
The cost of Secret Service protection for the president's adult children has often been the subject of debate. For example, agents tasked with protecting Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump racked up $230,000 USD in travel costs in just one month due to a Trump Organization business trip the brothers took. Another trip Eric Trump took to Uruguay, before his father was even sworn in as president, cost taxpayers nearly $98,000 USD.
Naturally, the Trumps are not the first first family to take trips on taxpayers' dime. But it should be noted that Trump has often railed that the trips taken by his predecessor and his family were a waste of taxpayer money. According to conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, the cost of the Obama family's travel during the eight years President Obama was in U.S. office cost just under $100 million USD. By contrast, Trump’s trips during just his first 80 days in office cost $20 million USD, according to CNN. His trips to his Mar-a-Lago resort alone, as of June, have been more expensive than the investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
It's not only vacations or business trips that have raised eyebrows: Before first lady Melania Trump moved to the White House, she racked up $675,000 USD in military flights to and from New York, Florida, and Washington, D.C. And during her first solo tour to Africa, Melania's team spent $95,050 USD at a hotel in Cairo, Egypt, Quartz reported. The first lady didn't even spend the night there, since her Cairo stop only last six hours.