The Trump family and some former members of his administration have come under scrutiny for using taxpayer money for unnecessary things, and once again first daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner are in the news for a vacation they took to the Dominican Republican last summer,costing taxpayers nearly $60,000.
According to the Business Insider, while the couple paid for their own expenses during the vacation, their security detail incurred costs taken directly from American citizens. Both Ivanka and Kushner are both advisers to Trump and work in the White House in an official capacity, which means their security detail has to be paid for by citizens.
“Federal records show that the bill amounted to nearly $60,000 – $32,064 for a “VIP VISIT” to the Amanara Resort Rio San Juan and $26,280 for a charge simply identified as “HOTEL RESERVATION.”
As Quartz reports, the Amanara is a “six-star” property in the town of Rio San Juan, known for its ridiculous prices. Ivanka reportedly flew into the town using a private jet, while Kushner was also seen on the premises. US police vehicles, as well as a team of US Secret Service agents, were also spotted at the luxury resort, with their accommodation charges being paid by the taxpayers.
The White House said that the “personal trip” by the Kushners was a non-issue because the pair followed all ethics guidelines.
“The Kushners were on a personal trip and followed all ethics guidelines and rules for White House officials. The only expenses incurred by the government were due to USSS protection, which they are required to have. They personally covered all other expenses incurred as related to the trip.”
cool cool, Ivanka's weekend vacation cost taxpayers roughly 1 median annual household income. https://t.co/g0MLJhEAwk— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) December 12, 2018
Ethics experts contend that although Trump’s immediate family is entitled to protection by the Secret Service, it is the lack of transparency surrounding such expenditures which is a real problem for taxpayers. This means that even while Trump’s family members are on private trips, the costs of their security details is incurred by the taxpayers. And when one considers the number of trips that Trump’s grown children take, the cumulative amount would be nothing short of staggering, according to Virginia Canter, the chief ethics counsel at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
“The big problem is we haven’t had necessary oversight of the unusually high expenses incurred by the Secret Service to support the security of Trump and his grown children,” she said.
In 2017 alone, just Eric Trump’s various trips cost the taxpayers as much as $206,000. The amounts spent on Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. are expected to be much higher.