Several days have passed since CBS broke the news that Tiffany Trump, daughter of President Donald Trump, cost U.S. taxpayers $22,439 in secret service expenses when she and her boyfriend took a last-minute trip to Germany last month, and while the news served as ammo to the anti-Trump crowds, is the news really as big of a deal as it is being made out to be?
Let’s start with the concrete facts… Tiffany Trump and her boyfriend Ross Mechanic did travel to Germany for a ten-day trip that was said to be a last-minute vacation from June 14-24. Purchase orders obtained by CBS News confirm that the hotel costs for secret service agents accompanying Trump cost American taxpayers a total of $22,439. The purchase orders do not include secret service travel expenses or pay for their time.
So now that we got that out of the way, are the numbers a scandal or just business as usual?
President Trump doesn’t exactly have the best popularity numbers, and when you add in the perceived notion that he is sitting on billions of personal wealth when the nation he now controls has a governmental drowning in debt, you can see why some would call this quite the scandal. But when you take a look at history and presidential protocol, you’ll find little to call scandalous.
Under federal law, the Secret Service is to protect the sitting president, vice president, their immediate families and all former presidents, first ladies and their children under the age of 16. Both Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush kept their children under the watch of the Secret Service and even extended the protection after leaving office, despite them being well over the age of 16 at the time.
Tiffany Trump’s vacation isn’t the first, and certainly won’t be the last lavish trip abroad. President Trump took the presidency with more children than his recent predecessors, but is that enough to cry foul? And while this protection can be declined by all but the president and vice president, such a turndown is rarely done, and for good reason.
Imagine something happening to one of Trump’s children while in office. Now imagine the reaction that would undoubtedly invoke? Can we all just agree that $22,000 of normal spending is well spent to keep the storm at bay?