With round-the-year sunshine and breathtaking beaches, it’s no wonder why any family, including the Trumps, would want to enjoy a weekend getaway in the Dominican Republic. But when first daughter and White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump took her family to the Caribbean paradise in August, it was partially on the taxpayers’ dime. The cost: more than $58,000, according to Quartz.
During a mid-August weekend vacation, the Trump-Kushner family stayed at the northern five-star luxury Amanera Resort, where a room for two adults cost upwards of $1,600 per night. While the first daughter and her husband paid for their personal expenses during their travel, the government funded the cost of Secret Service security detail, which can include hotel reservations, car rentals and various other expenses for a protection team.
According to Quartz, the State Department approved more than $32,000 for a “VIP visit” to Amanera a week before the Kushners’ vacation as well as $26,280 for a “hotel reservation” that was connected to the trip.
“The Kushners were on a personal trip and followed all ethics guidelines and rules for White House officials,” a White House official said in a statement. “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.”
This is true. The Secret Service, which keeps the first family out of harm’s way, often joins them on vacations. They have under the Trump administration and those, including the Obamas, that preceded it. The difference: the price tag. In Obama’s eight years in office, for instance, his administration spent $97 million on vacation travel, which President Trump criticized as a waste of taxpayer money. But in Trump’s just first 80 days in office, his administration had already spent $20 million on personal trips, including frequent visits to the president’s resorts in Florida and New Jersey.
Also, in September 2017, just eight months into Trump’s term, the Secret Service requested an additional $60 million in its budget for 2018, citing that they were running low on funds used to protect the first family.