You Are Paying for the Trump Brothers to Travel the World on Trump Organization Business

Their secret service details are racking up hundreds of thousands of dollars in travel costs.

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

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It’s not cheap to live like a Trump, and American taxpayers are finding out the hard way. Wherever Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump go, they are accompanied by an entourage of Secret Service agents. Taxpayers don’t pay for the Trumps to travel, but they do foot the bill for their protective details. These trips often include stays in high-priced, luxury hotels, such as the One&Only Royal Mirage in Dubai, where the Trump brothers jetted in February 2017 to meet with Hussain Sajwani, their business partner in a Dubai golf resort. On this trip alone, which included a side visit to the Maldives with Sajwani and his family, the Secret Service racked up $230,000 in travel costs. 

The eye-popping expenses are contained in documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Extensive details of the Dubai trip’s itinerary—including arrangements for a seaplane to take the brothers and their protective entourage to private islands in the Maldives—are included in the records, which were released by CREW on Wednesday

The Dubai visit was perhaps the most lavish trip the Trump have taken with taxpayer-funded protection, though it was hardly the only one. In January 2017, the Secret Service spent roughly $30,000 to accompany Eric Trump to the Dominican Republic, where he met with his father’s former business partners to explore reviving a collapsed resort project—despite a pledge from the president that his company would engage in no new foreign deals while he was in office. 

According to the documents obtained by CREW, taxpayers shelled out more than $50,000 for a visit the brothers made to Vancouver, Canada in early February 2017 for the opening of a new Trump hotel there. More than half of those charges were paid to the Trump hotel. The documents also detail a trip to Uruguay by Eric Trump in January 2017, which cost taxpayers at least $97,000

The trips documented by CREW, spanning only the early months of the Trump presidency, are just a snapshot of the travel undertaken by Trump’s sons. And they don’t include travel by other members of the Trump family, for instance a trip in June 2017 to Europe, apparently planned on the spur-of-the-moment, by Tiffany Trump (estimated Secret Service cost: $22,000). One or both Trump brothers have returned to Dubai at least twice—Donald Jr. visited in May 2017 to meet with Sajwani, and both brothers attended the wedding of Sajwani’s daughter this spring. Despite Donald Trump’s “no new foreign deals” promise, the brothers are currently working on opening a second golf course with Sajwani’s company, DAMAC. Sajwani has popped up at Mar-a-Lago on at least one occasion, and he attended Trump’s inauguration, where he and other foreign business partners were given VIP treatment

On Donald Trump’s recent stopover in Scotland during his European trip last week, Scottish newspapers reported that the US State Department paid the president’s Turnberry golf course as much as $68,000 for hotel accommodations for the president and his staff. Attempting to deflect criticism, Eric Trump tweeted that his father’s company was not profiting off any business generated by his father’s visits to Trump properties.

The Trump Organization hasn’t previously revealed such a discount, but as the records obtained by CREW show, the taxpayers certainly aren’t getting any break when the Trumps travel.

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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