It’s time to Break It Down!
People, including my friends and family…who am I kidding, especially my friends and family, ask me why I write about Trump so often? His adoring supporters would be quick to call it TDS, commonly known as Trump Derangement Syndrome.
For the record, it’s not that. I write about him, because whether I (or you, or they, for that matter) like it or not, the guy is in the news every day, every single day. And not just CNN, or the NYT, or WaPo. Watch Fox News any day. Every day. Let me know when a day passes without him being mentioned. Granted, he’s discussed in different lights, depending on the media outlet, but liberal, or conservative, he is bound to be the subject of discussion, sooner or later. Every. Single. Day.
Several outlets reported Monday that documents revealed the Secret Service paid upward of $1.4 million to former President Trump’s company, renting rooms for as much as $1,185 a night, or almost six times the normal maximum hotel rate the federal government pays for traveling employees. This seemingly outrageous deviation from standard practices was reported more than once in real time. Each time it was knocked down by various Trump mouthpieces. Who you gonna believe?
House Oversight Chair Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat from New York, called the rates exorbitant. She added, they raise “significant concern about the former president’s self-dealing” and may have been “a taxpayer-funded windfall” for Trump properties.
Rep. Maloney indicated that her panel has sought a full accounting from the Secret Service on taxpayer money spent at Trump properties for more than two years, to no avail. In a letter to Secret Service director Kimberly Cheatle on Monday, Maloney said the committee found over 40 instances in which the agency paid Trump properties more than the maximum government rate to rent hotel rooms, based on records in hand.
The letter cited one instance in which the agency paid $1,185 a night for rooms when a protective detail accompanied Donald Trump, Jr. to the Trump-owned Mar-a-Lago resort in November 2017. Placed in context, the maximum government rate for the area is $201 per night.
In another instance, Secret Service agents accompanying Eric Trump, also one of the former president’s sons, paid $1,160 a night at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, though the maximum government room rate for the city is $242 per night.
Maloney’s letter indicated Trump company officials claimed they charged only “minimal fees” for government officials who traveled with the former president and stayed at his properties. The temptation is to just add this to the ledger of 30k+ lies and misleading statements attributed to Trump during his time in office. While I’m uninclined to make that case in this post, you are free to use your own discretion.
Eric Trump said Monday, in an emailed statement, accommodations for the Secret Service or other government agencies “were provided at cost, heavily discounted, or free.”
He went on, “The company would have been substantially better off if hospitality services were sold to full-paying guests, however, the company did whatever it took to accommodate the agencies to ensure they were able to do their jobs at the highest levels.” LOLOL!
Special Agent Steve Kopek, spokesperson for the Secret Service said the Secret Service has received the committee’s letter about hotel charges, and “the agency will respond directly to the committee with the requested information.”
In Rep. Mahoney’s letter, she noted, of documents the Secret Service has provided so far, there is missing information, including, other stays at Trump properties. This includes, but is not limited to, Secret Service room expenses at Mar-a-Lago identified in a 2019 Government Accounting report. The documents also do not include any foreign Trump properties or travel after September 15, 2021. The agency continues to provide protection for Trump.
Government room rates are based on average rates for hotels in the area at the time of year. Agencies generally keep lodging costs at or below those rates, with requests to exceed those rates triggering special scrutiny. Beginning in 2017, the Secret Service was granted extra flexibility to exceed government rates when paying for employees on protective details.
During his presidency, Trump reportedly visited properties he owned 547 times, including 145 visits to his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, according to the House Oversight and Reform Committee. When it came time for the US to host the Group of Seven Summit for world leaders, he also chose one of his properties, the Trump National Doral Miami, though he later backtracked due to criticism.
If this were emblematic of a single curious instance of Donald Trump straying from accepted protocols and principles, it would still be damnable, but possibly defensible. A single curious instance? Maybe. But this is not a case of a single curious instance. It conforms with Trump’s pattern and practice; standard operating procedure if you will. Unless you are just down with Trump, no matter what he says or does, and let’s face it, some people are, this requires an interventive reckoning…”Slowly, Surely, Inexorably: Truth Crushed to the Ground Will Rise Again!”
I’m done; holla back!
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