The Florida club charged the Secret Service nearly $400 each night for a room beginning the day Trump left the White House and moved to Mar-a-Lago, on Jan. 20, through April 30, according to federal spending records. The single room was used as a workspace by agents, a source told the Post.
Because Trump had been at Mar-a-Lago full time since leaving office, the Secret Service paid the club nearly as much in the spring of 2021 as it had during comparable periods in 2018 and 2019, the newspaper noted.
Though presidents are afforded Secret Service protection for life, the Post could not find a single other example of a sitting or former president continuing to charge the agency rent “on this scale.” Trump, a billionaire, is collecting a $219,000 annual pension and has a staff paid for by U.S. taxpayers.
Trump’s profiting from the government fits the pattern set while he was in the White House. His properties charged the U.S. government more than $2.5 million for lodging for Secret Service agents and other costs by last October, according to the Post.
He also cashed in on Republican donors. Mar-a-Lago hoovered up $400,000 in catering and rental income from campaign contributions in just two days of fundraising events at the club last July. Estimates of donor money spent at Trump properties range from $10.5 million to as high as $17 million.
As for Trump’s Mar-a-Lago rent bills for the Secret Service, “It’s tacky,” said Jeffrey Engle, director of the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. “Just because you can make a buck doesn’t mean you should make a buck. And especially when you have a situation where you’re an ex-president. You’re not going to starve,” he told the Post.