Trump Jr. security to India: $97,805
Donald Trump Jr.’s trip to sell his family’s luxury condominium cost U.S. taxpayers nearly $100K.
WASHINGTON — Donald Trump Jr.’s lavish trip to India to sell his family’s luxury condominium projects cost U.S. taxpayers nearly $100,000, documents obtained by The Washington Post show.
The Department of Homeland Security, responding to a Freedom of Information request, released 47 pages of purchase orders, requisition forms and planning work sheets showing Trump Jr.’s February trip cost more than
$97,805 for hotel rooms, airfare, car rental and overtime for Secret Service agents. The costs were incurred on a February tour of four Indian cities — Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi, and Pune — where the Trump family has licensed its name to luxury high-rise projects.
Trump Jr., 40, is the executive vice president of the family real estate company that the president still owns, although the elder Trump says he has stepped back from day-to-day control.
During his tour, Trump Jr. walked the red carpet, attended a ribbon cutting at a high-rise building overlooking the Arabian Sea in Mumbai, hosted champagne dinners for buyers and had a private tete-a-tete with India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Full-page glossy newspaper ads offered those who put down a
$38,000 deposit on a new luxury project outside Delhi a chance to dine with the president’s son, prompting charges of conflict of interest. His team boasted to reporters it had sold $100 million worth of the pricey flats, including $15 million in a single day.
The Secret Service is authorized by law to protect the president and his immediate family, although Trump Jr. briefly waived his protective guard last fall while on a moose-hunting trip to the Yukon. The idea that the U.S. taxpayers are footing the bill for Secret Service travel while the Trump children are on trips to promote the family’s brand overseas has prompted criticism from both Capitol Hill and watchdog groups.
Jordan Libowitz, communications director for the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said that because the president has not placed his assets in a blind trust, as others have done, he still effectively controls his real estate empire and benefits from his children’s travels. Both Trump Jr. and the president’s other son, Eric, have traveled widely to promote the Trump brand, including trips to Dubai and Vancouver.
“The issue is that essentially the president still owns his businesses, and these trips are being done to make the president money. Essentially the government is spending money for the president’s private businesses,” Libowitz said.
The Trump Organization did not respond to emails or return calls for comment.
In a statement, Jeffrey Adams, a spokesman for the Secret Service, said for security reasons the agency could not discuss “the means, methods, resources, costs, or numbers utilized to carry out our protective responsibilities.”
The Trump family will face tighter scrutiny going forward now that the Democrats have regained control of the House of Representatives, experts say.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., a critic of the strains Trump’s large family has placed on the Secret Service’s budget, is expected to assume control of the House oversight committee next year.
Democrats began investigating the costs of Trump’s family travel last year, but the effort did not get far. They are now awaiting the results of two reports from the Government Accountability Office — one on the costs of presidential travel and a second on the security at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, Fla., the committee said.
Chuck Young, managing director of public affairs for the GAO, says the family travel study is expected out in mid-December and will include travel in 2017; this means Trump Jr.’s India trip is not in the study’s scope.
During the nearly weeklong trip protecting Trump Jr., Secret Service agents following Trump crisscrossed the country, staying in a variety of luxury hotels, including the Oberoi in New Delhi and the Four Seasons in Mumbai, where rooms range from $150 to nearly $500 a night. The promotional events were for properties where the Trumps have licensing deals, not properties the Trump Organization owns.
The documents released by DHS are incomplete — the Mumbai figures show an estimate of the total trip cost as $25,174, including
$18,785 for rooms at the Four Seasons and $6,389 for car rentals, cellphone use and payment of local staff. Purchase orders of the final hotel bills with the General Services Administration show the government paid
$15,166 for rooms during what it called “Don Jr Visit to Mumbai” and another bill for $3,501.
Donald Trump Jr. takes the stage Feb. 23 in New Delhi during a trip to drum up sales for new luxury flats in India.