Donald Trump’s company reportedly charged the U.S. Secret Service more than $500 per night to rental a three-bedroom cottage at the president’s New Jersey golf club — even as the facility itself was closed during the COVID-19 crisis.
As The Week reported, the golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, was forced to close as the entire hospitality industry was hit by the spread of the virus and statewide lockdowns back in the spring. But the absence of visitors and employees did not stop the Trump Organization from continuing to charge taxpayers for the security detail to rent a cottage, the report noted.
The outlet reported that the company charged the Secret Service more than $21,800 to stay on the property, including a $567-year-night fees for a three-bedroom cottage close to the president’s personal villa. The charges also included two more rooms that cost $142 to $283 per night, the report found.
Trump never visited the New Jersey resort during this time, The Week noted, though his daughter, Ivanka, did.
As Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold wrote on Twitter, the Trump Organization did not comment about why they continued to charge the agency for the rooms even as the club was closed. He reported that the evidence appears to contradict claims from Eric Trump that they charged very low rates for the agency, as low as $50 per night.
“We are still trying to prove @erictrump right! He said the Trump Org charges the US govt ‘like 50 bucks’ for hotel rooms. But no luck so far!” he wrote on Twitter. “We’ve looked at 100s of bills, and not found a single one that matches Eric Trump’s claim. The rates were all higher, up to $650/night.”
Fahrenthold said he continued to seek information from the company that could back up the claim, but had not yet received a reply.
Heres the email from Trump Bedminster’s GM, announcing the club was closing for covid on 3/17/20.
And here are two bills, showing @realdonaldtrump’s club charging the Secret Service about $16,000 while the club was shuttered.
Why? Trump Org wouldn’t say. pic.twitter.com/8Rjlx0x1QA
— David Fahrenthold (@Fahrenthold) September 17, 2020
The president has faced criticism for his refusal to divest from his personal business, something his predecessors have done. Trump instead said he turned over the operations to his adult sons and has no involvement with the running of the business, though critics said he has remained closely tied to the organization and still benefits financially from the taxpayer funds that Secret Service and others have paid to stay at properties. As The Inquisitr reported, the charges included $54,000 for tents that were erected at a New Year’s Eve party at the his Mar-a-Lago resort — a party that Trump himself did not attend.