The Trump family revels in thinking of themselves as America's first royal family. The costs for American taxpayers associated with building Trump hotels and new businesses around the globe by the Trump children, coupled with President Trump's desire to play golf at his resorts the majority of weekends, have broken America's Secret Service budget. Even when the Trump children fly away on their endless vacations, we taxpayers must foot the bill of agents skiing down the slopes behind them, having rented their own equipment at top-dollar resorts.
It's not fake news to say that without congressional intervention, the Secret Service is not even able to pay agents for the work they've already done.
Secret Service Director Randolph "Tex'' Alles, in an interview with USA TODAY, said more than 1,000 agents have already hit the federally mandated caps for salary and overtime allowances that were meant to last the entire year.
"The president has a large family, and our responsibility is required in law,'' Alles said. "I can't change that. I have no flexibility.''
An avid golfer who hates Camp David and has called the White House a dump, Trump always to get out of town and stay at his own properties. He has taken seven trips to his Mar-a-Lago, Fla. social and golf club, traveled to his Bedminster, N.J., golf club five times and returned to Trump Tower in Manhattan once just last week.
Trump's frequent visits to his "winter White House" and "summer White House" -- as he prefers to call his business properties -- are especially challenging for the Secret Service, which must maintain a regular security infrastructure at each – without disturbing the access of the clubs' paying members and guests.
Always costly in manpower and equipment, the president's jaunts to Mar-a-Lago are estimated to cost at least $3 million each, based on a General Accounting Office estimate for similar travel by former President Obama. The Secret Service has spent some $60,000 on golf cart rentals alone this year to protect Trump at both Mar-a-Lago and Bedminster.
It took 100 Secret Service agents to protect the three Trump children and their families, at their Aspen ski vacation in March 2017.
Trump is particularly committed to always promoting his commercial properties. Consider that he ended last week's jawdropping public statements about Charlottesville equating the tiki-torch-bearing, white supremacist, neo-Nazism-promoting marchers with counter protesters with a promotion for his winery.
When asked if he intended to go to Charlottesville as America's president as he walked away from his podium, Trump stopped and responded: "I own a house in Charlottesville. Does anyone know I own a house in Charlottesville?"
"I mean I know a lot about Charlottesville," the president said. "Charlottesville is a great place that's been very badly hurt over the last couple of days."
Returning to the topic of his Charlottesville house, the president called it "one of the largest wineries" in the country. Trump promoted this falsehood from the earliest days of his presidential campaign, and we will take up the story tomorrow.
Today's challenge is how to pay America's Secret Service employees -- and recruit new ones -- to support the most extravagant lifestyle in history of our first royal family -- the Trumps. Trust me, the cost of protecting America's peanut farmer Jimmy Carter was a whole lot cheaper in real dollars.