The Secret Service is facing a funding crunch and, as of September, will not be able to pay the required overtime for as many as 1,100 agents due to federal spending caps. The organization has faced similar financial challenges in the past, but the Trump administration—despite an increased number of agents—has stretched the agency’s resources even thinner in its first seven months. About one-third of the agents in the Secret Service will have burned through so much overtime by September that they will reach the government-mandated cap on their salaries. As the agency is currently headed, the Secret Service’s budgeted funding will only stretch through September, meaning its facing a 25 percent shortfall in what’s required to protect the Trump administration.
Last year, during a contentious campaign, the Secret Service ran into a similar staffing crunch as agents worked long hours and piled up overtime. The opening months of the Trump administration, however, have not allowed for any letup in Secret Service protection. Some of the strain is due to the Trump family and how the president has chosen to operate while in office. The number of people receiving Secret Service protection jumped from 31 during the Obama years to 42 during the Trump presidency, including 18 members of the Trump family. The fact that until recently none of Trump’s family lived in the White House meant that agents were required to individually provide cover to Melania Trump and their son Barron in Trump Tower in New York City, as well as his four adult children, particularly Donald Jr. and Eric Trump, who have crisscrossed the globe in their leadership roles at the Trump Organization.
Some examples via USA Today:
Earlier this year, Eric Trump’s business travel to Uruguay cost the Secret Service nearly $100,000 just for hotel rooms. Other trips included the United Kingdom and the Dominican Republic. In February, both sons and their security details traveled to Vancouver, British Columbia, for the opening of new Trump hotel there, and to Dubai to officially open a Trump International Golf Club…
On top of the increase in the sheer number of protectees, Trump has spent a great deal of time away from the White House during his first half-year in office. Trips to Mar-a-Lago for the weekend (seven times), as well as his club in New Jersey (five times) have meant more work for his security detail, as has the president’s preference for campaigning, rather than governing, which has meant campaign-style rallies across the country. The big, open-air events add to the Secret Service’s protection workload.