The Secret Service and the protection that it provides for the nation's top politicians and their families is an integral part of the smooth functioning of the country — but now the organization is finding itself with a new problem. USA Today is reporting that the Secret Service is out of money because of Trump, his large family, and their frequent travel, both domestically and overseas.
According to Secret Service Director Randolph "Tex'' Alles, over 1,000 Secret Service agents have already hit their pay caps and overtime allowances for the year. There are numerous reasons for this, Alles said, specifically pointing to the increased number of people needing protection (42 in total under Trump, including 18 members of his family) and their propensity to travel. The president has gone to his own properties almost every weekend, so the Secret Service has spent thousands of dollars securing them.
As the members of Trump's immediate family must also be protected, though, members of the Secret Service have also had to accompany his adult sons on business trips overseas, daughter Tiffany on her trip to Berlin and Budapest, and all of the Trump children on an Aspen ski trip — these excursions come with a wide range of expenses. They have, for example, had to pay nearly $60,000 in golf cart rentals at Mar-A-Lago and Bedminster in order to keep the area secure while the president enjoys his time at what he calls the summer and winter White Houses.
As the costs rack up, there's nothing that the Secret Service can do except continue to carry out their work, Alles told USA Today.
The president has a large family, and our responsibility is required in law. I can't change that. I have no flexibility.
What that means, though, is that at least 130 agents could find themselves unpaid for hundreds of extra hours worked. USA Today writes that Congress could approve a deal to raise salary and overtime caps for Secret Service agents, but that wouldn't be able to pay all of the agents everything that they are entitled to.
The cost of Trump's frequent travels have become a recurring theme of the presidency so far, especially considering how much he criticized president Barack Obama for taking vacations on the taxpayers' dime.
But the Secret Service isn't the only wing of government where the costs are piling up — the military, specifically the Coast Guard, has reportedly spent upwards of $6.6 million on Trump's trips this year. At the same time, the Coast Guard is also struggling with an ever tighter budget, juxtaposed with the need to renew their fleet.
Unless Trump and his family make an effort to amend their lifestyle, the country is likely to see these costs keep piling up.