A new analysis of spending by the Secret Service shows that in the six months after former President Donald Trump left office, the agency spent around $1.7 million for the protection of his family, including his four adult children and their spouses, along with three of his former White House officials.
The expenditures on these individuals is considered extraordinary, given that the Secret Service typically only grants extra protection to former presidents, their spouses, and their young children (under the age of 16) after they leave office.
But prior to exiting the White House, Trump ordered the extra protection for his adult children, as well as for former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and former National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien.
Several of the individuals who received extra protection, including Trump’s adult children, are multimillionaires who can afford to pay for their own private protection, said Jim Helminski, a former Secret Service executive who spoke to The Washington Post, which conducted the analysis of the agency’s expenditures.
“Even if there was a credible risk to family and associates of Trump, these people are now private citizens who can afford to hire some very talented private security firms for their personal protection,” Helminski explained.
Mnuchin, for example, has a net worth of around $400 million. Yet he benefited from Secret Service protection during a trip earlier this year to Israel and Qatar, which cost taxpayers around $52,000.
In a statement to the Post, Mnuchin defended his receiving the federally funded protection, saying through a spokesperson that “government officials advised him to maintain it.” He also claimed he would pay back some of his expenses, but did not explain how much or when that would happen.
Though it is unclear from the Post’s reporting on Friday, there is a high possibility that Trump himself has benefited financially from extending the Secret Service’s protection to his family members and former officials beyond the typical time frame. Trump has profited from his relationship with the Secret Service in the past, including in May when the agency rented rooms at his golf club in New Jersey, paying his company more than $10,000.
A similar investigation by the Post in 2020 found that the Secret Service had spent at least $1.1 million in rental stays and other expenses toward Trump Organization properties over the course of Trump’s first three years as president. Trump directly benefited from these payments because he remained the sole proprietor of his company even while he served as president, refusing to follow the practice embraced by previous presidents of relinquishing control of investments that created clear conflicts of interest.