Newly uncovered documents show that the U.S. government has paid Donald Trump’s luxury resort companies more than $1.1 million in taxpayer money since he took office, including almost $200,000 for room rentals at his New Jersey golf club this spring while it was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The receipts and invoices from Trump’s businesses were grudgingly released by the Secret Service after Washington Post filed a public records lawsuit. Pulitzer Prize winning reporter David Fahrenthold, who has spent the past several years digging into Trump’s unusual relationship with the government he runs, wrote:
“In Bedminster this spring, the records show, Trump’s club charged the Secret Service more than $21,800 to rent a cottage and other rooms while the club was closed and otherwise off-limits to guests. The documents don’t give a reason for these rentals. Trump didn’t visit the club while it was closed, but his eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, and her family reportedly visited at least once.
“The family visited the club in April to celebrate Passover, a period that overlaps with several of the largest Secret Service charges. At the time, both the District of Columbia — where Ivanka Trump lives — and New Jersey had imposed ‘stay-at-home’ orders, telling residents to avoid travel except under limited circumstances.”
Trump’s companies billed U.S. taxpayers, via the Secret Service, $17,000 a month — or $567 per night — to rent a three-bedroom cottage near Trump’s own villa in Bedminster. That nightly rental rate is significantly above the average for that area of northern New Jersey.
Eric Trump previously asserted that his family’s companies are only charging taxpayers “like 50 bucks a night” for hotel rooms used by the Secret Service when Trump travels. The documents obtained by the Post tell a far different story.
Here are the questions we sent @realdonaldtrump’s company for this story. Note #1– If they have *any* evidence to back up their claim to charge taxpayers super-cheap rates, I want to see it!
(Trump Org didn’t respond to these questions. I’ll let you know if they do.) pic.twitter.com/vyClB2RXdb
— David Fahrenthold (@Fahrenthold) September 17, 2020