The U.S. Secret Service has booked rooms at Mar-a-Lago for two weeks at a time just in case the President goes there and they need them, so that they don’t catch the property sold out.
In total “taxpayers have paid Trump’s businesses more than $900,000 since he took office. At least $570,000 came as a result of the president’s travel.” Trump properties have also charged Republican groups $3.8 million for fundraising events at which the President spoke.
But those aren’t the numbers I’m interested in. It’s the details of the rates being paid. Secret Service guarding Vice President Pence had to pay resort fees at the Trump International Hotel Las Vegas.
In early 2017, for instance, Pence visited Las Vegas to speak to a Republican Jewish Coalition gathering. He stayed one night at the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas, newly released receipts show. The Secret Service was charged for 151 rooms, at about $102 per room per night — the maximum rate for Las Vegas at the time under normal federal per-diem rules. Secret Service agents are allowed to exceed the limit while on protective duty.
In Las Vegas, the Trump hotel also tacked on $29 per room in “resort fees,” receipts show. That added $4,379 to the bill, for a total of $20,183. The hotel’s website said the fee covered services such as coffee, shoe shines and shuttle service to the shopping mall at the Caesars Palace casino. The Trump Organization did not say why it had charged resort fees to working Secret Service agents.
When VP Pence went to @realdonaldtrump’s Las Vegas hotel in 2017, the Secret Service rented 151 rooms over a wk.
Trump Org added “resort fees” to the agents’ bills: $29 per room, per night.
(And nobody would know if we hadn’t sued the govt to get the records) pic.twitter.com/OKeFUJC34h
— David Fahrenthold (@Fahrenthold) August 27, 2020
Ethics norms notwithstanding I don’t have an issue with the government paying for rooms at Trump properties, even when they’re less convenient for doing business than other hotels and even when they’re more expensive. That’s the price of doing business with Trump and he was elected President under the U.S. system. If this bothers them it may influence their re-election vote.
I do, however, have a problem with resort fees. Resort fees are deceptive to the extent they aren’t option. The money required to pay to stay at a property is literally the room rate. If resort fees added value to a guest’s stay, as Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson claims, they wouldn’t need to be mandatory. And Secret Service members staying on government rates literally cannot take advantage of the supposed amenities.
(HT: Reid F.)