Secret Service goes broke protecting Trump, family on travel
The Secret Service is strapped for funds, with around 1,000 agents unable to be compensated for overtime hours and other work put in to protect President Donald Trump and his family, as well as his many homes.
In an interview with USA Today, Secret Service Director Randolph “Tex” Alles explained that the president’s constant weekend trips to his properties as well as the sheer size of his family (18 people strong) means that the Secret Service has already hit their federally-mandated spending cap.
That means that around 1,100 agents aren’t going to be compensated for overtime hours, leading Alles to speak with important lawmakers about taking measures to raise the overtime and salary cap for his agents, even just for the duration of Trump’s first term in office.
“The president has a large family, and our responsibility is required in law,” Alles said. “I can’t change that. I have no flexibility.”
Several lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have expressed concern for the fact that the agency is so stretched.
“It is clear that the Secret Service’s demands will continue to be higher than ever throughout the Trump administration,” said Jennifer Werner, a spokesperson for Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, later adding, “We cannot expect the Secret Service to be able to recruit and keep the best of the best if they are not being paid for these increases (in overtime hours).”
And South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy, the Republican chairman of the House oversight panel, is “working with other committees of jurisdiction to explore ways in which we can best support” the Secret Service, according to his spokesperson, Amanda Gonzalez.
The constant trips to Trump’s “winter White House” and “summer White House” at his resorts in New Jersey and Florida, respectively, are also costing the Secret Service in regards to not only manpower but equipment. For example, the Secret Service has spent around $60,000 on golf cart rentals alone this year to protect Trump.
Alles said that he hoped focusing on hiring more agents would help to alleviate the problem, but for the moment, he was more concerned about making sure his current crop of agents is compensated properly.
“We have them working all night long; we’re sending them on the road all of the time,” Alles said. “There are no quick fixes, but over the long term, I’ve got to give them a better balance (of work and private life) here.”