Greedy, “Tacky” Billionaire Trump Hits Taxpayers for Secret Service Mar-a-Lago Room Charges

“It’s tacky.” That’s how one presidential historian describes twice-impeached former president Donald Trump’s practice of billing to U.S. taxpayers for room rentals at Mar-a-Lago for Secret Service agents who need to be there to protect him.

Records obtained by The Washington Post show that self-proclaimed billionaire Trump – who once said during his 2016 campaign that people should vote for him “because I’m really, really rich” – has insisted on charging the Secret Service $396.15 every night starting Jan. 20, the day he left the White House and moved into his Palm Beach, Fla., club.

The room charges were for one single room that was used as a workspace by agents detailed to him. It’s unclear what the occupancy rate was during the January-April time period or if the Secret Service’s use of the room would have prevented otherwise paying guests from staying at the property.

In early May Trump relocated to his Bedminster, N.J., golf club to spend the summer. Given his past practice it’s a good assumption that he will continue to send taxpayers a bill for agents’ accommodations – and that’s on top of the cost for agents’ salaries and other expenses involved in his protection. While he was in office Trump properties around the world charged the U.S. government – and ultimately U.S. taxpayers – more than $2.5 million for accommodations so that Secret Service agents could be near him.

The fact that Trump continues to bill taxpayers for rooms at properties that he owns doesn’t sit well with at least one presidential historian, especially considering former presidents already enjoy a host of other taxpayer-funded benefits including a $219,000 annual pension.

“It’s tacky,” said Jeffrey Engel, director of the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University. “Just because you can make a buck doesn’t mean you should make a buck. Especially when you’re an ex-president. You’re not going to starve.”

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