WASHINGTON – In the days before he left office, then-President Donald Trump instructed that his extended family get the best security available in the world for the next six months, at no cost – the protection of the U.S. Secret Service.
According to three people briefed on the plan, Trump issued a directive to extend post-presidency Secret Service protection to 14 members of his family who were not automatically entitled to receive it.
Under federal law, Trump, his wife Melania and their 14-year-old son are the only members of his immediate family entitled to Secret Service protection after they leave office.
The couple will receive it for their lifetimes, and Barron is entitled to protection until he turns 16. Former Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen Pence will also receive continued Secret Service security for the next six months under the same law governing protection.
But Trump wanted every family member who had been protected by the Secret Service during his administration to be covered for another six months, according to the people familiar with his directive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe security arrangements.
That means the expensive, taxpayer-funded security will continue for his daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, their three children, his son Donald Trump Jr. and his five children, his son Eric Trump and his wife Lara and his daughter Tiffany Trump.
The 24-hour protection will focus on Trump’s grown children. His grandchildren will receive protection that derives from being in proximity to their parents and will not be as extensive as it was during Trump’s presidency.
A former Trump White House spokesman declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the Secret Service also declined to comment, saying the agency does not discuss the individuals it protects.
A president can order Secret Service protection for any person he choses, but it is highly unusual for a president to provide 24-hour security to such a large number of family members, including so many grown adults.
President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush sought extensions to protect their college-aged daughters for a short period after they left office. President Barack Obama’s daughters Sasha and Malia were also granted a short extension of security after he left office in 2017, when they were in high school and on a gap year from college. A Secret Service official declined to say when that protection ended.
A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the expansion of Secret Service security, did not respond to inquiries. The official did not answer questions on whether the agency performed any threat assessment that suggested the extension was warranted, or if it weighed in on the decision regarding Trump’s family.
The perk for the Trump family is expected to cost taxpayers millions of dollars and further stress the elite federal security force, which in the past four years had to staff the largest number ever of full-time security details – up to 42 at one point, according to former senior administration officials.
The extension of security for the Trump family comes as the Secret Service has also mobilized protective details for the extended families of incoming President Joe Biden and Vice President Harris.
Full-time security teams are being deployed to protect Biden’s two grown children and seven grandchildren, as well as Harris’s two step-children.
The Trump family’s protection has been costly for the Secret Service’s budget, as his adult children traveled widely across the country and around the world for personal vacations and travel related to the Trump Organization, the family company.
From 2017 to 2019, government records show, Trump family members took more than 4,500 trips that required Secret Service to travel alongside them, costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.
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The Washington Post’s Nick Miroff contributed to this report.
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