The Grift That Keeps On Giving

Written by SK Ashby

The Washington Post recently reported that Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort had found a way to force the Secret Service into booking rooms even if Trump wasn't visiting, but Trump's properties have reportedly billed taxpayers when they weren't even open.

Citing public records from the Secret Service, the Post reports that taxpayers were billed for rooms at Trump's club in Bedminster, New Jersey while the club was closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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 records show that Trump Bedminster charged the Secret Service $17,000 a month — or $567 per night — to rent the three-bedroom “Sarazen Cottage” near Trump’s own villa. That rate charged is unusually high for a rental home in the area, according to an analysis of local real estate listings.

The Post had obtained records of Secret Service rentals at Bedminster previously. But the new documents show that the rentals lasted much longer than previously known. Instead of lasting only for the summer months, when Trump usually visited, the rentals stretched from May to the end of October, the new documents show.

One former Trump administration official said the Secret Service had chosen to rent for six months at a stretch because Trump himself did not announce his travel schedule far in advance.

Forcing the Secret Service to book rooms when there's no one there to protect and even when the property is closed is not the kind of behavior I expect from someone running a healthy business.

People have quipped that Trump is running for reelection to stay out of prison, and that may be the case, but I think his biggest concern is staying out of the poor house.

Trump claims he has lost money while in the White House and publicly available reports tell us his net wealth has declined, but it may have declined by even more if he did not have the presidency as a personal branding he can use to promote his clubs and properties or merchandise.

We know Trump is highly leveraged in debt held by Deutsche Bank and his business empire, the Trump Organization, is under investigation by the state of New York for potential insurance and bank fraud.

Nothing will protect Trump if we vote him out in November.