'The stress is just overwhelming': Secret Service feels the strain

By Geoff Earle

Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy, left, stands with President Donald Trump during a reception for inaugural law enforcement officers and first responders. Photo / AP
Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy, left, stands with President Donald Trump during a reception for inaugural law enforcement officers and first responders. Photo / AP

The U.S. Secret Service is feeling the strain - and taxpayer costs are already mounting - over the burden of protecting President Donald Trump's family as they jet between various residences and far-flung locales.

President Trump's weekend getaways at Mar-a-Lago in West Palm Beach require Secret Service agents to travel, do advance work and provide protection - while other assets patrol waterways to ensure the safety of the president.

His three visits there alone during his young presidency likely cost the government $10 million, reports DailyMail.

Meanwhile, first lady Melania Trump remains in New York - also getting government protection. Costs of protecting the building could reach $183 million per year, the Washington Post reported in a story adding up the costs.

The paper earlier reported that Eric Trump's trip to Uruguay to visit a Trump Organization condo property cost taxpayers $100,000 for security and embassy costs associated with the trip.

The assignments appear to be straining the agency charged with protecting Trump and his close family members. All the while, the agency must keep a close watch on the White House, after years worth of embarrassing and high-profile security missteps.

"There was an anticipation of how stressful it was going to be on the agency, but the harsh reality is that the stress is just overwhelming,'" Jonathan Wackrow, a former member of President Obama's detail and a 14-year Secret Service employee told the paper.

He called protecting the sprawling Trump family a "monumental" task.

"It's a logistical nightmare," Wackrow said, warning that agents are "at severe risk of burnout, and the very last thing you want is to have your agents burned out."

One presidential getaway Trump has yet to visit is Camp David. The tranquil retreat in Maryland's Catoctin Mountains overs quaint cottages and the chance to get out of Washington.

Trump's three trips to Mar-a-Lago could cost $10 million in security costs. Photo / AP
Trump's three trips to Mar-a-Lago could cost $10 million in security costs. Photo / AP

But it is not equipped to the luxury standards Trump has become accustomed to as a real estate mogul.

The retreat is already fortified, and can be reached via a short helicopter ride after taking off from the secured South Lawn of the White House.

The military is looking to rent space in Trump Tower to meet security requirements, CNN reported this month.

The floors available to be rented would cost $1.5 million a year - with the funds presumably going to bolster the bottom line of the Trump Organization.

President Trump says he put the company in a trust under the direction of Eric Trump and Don Jr. and a company executive.

Judicial Watch estimated that the travel costs of protecting President Obama and his family reached $96 million over eight years.

Mar-a-Lago recently doubled its membership fee, to $200,000. Members got to mingle with Trump during his recent visits there.

The president stopped by the wedding of a former contributor, and dined with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe outdoors while surrounded by other guests.

Politico concluded that a single trip to Mar-a-Lago could cost $3 million, based on a government report of an Obama trip to West Palm Beach.

- Daily Mail

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