$2.5 million

What was that about ethics?

Donald Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, N.J., charged the Secret Service nearly $10,200 for guest rooms used by his protective detail during Trump’s first month at the club this summer, newly released spending records show.

He could of course charge them nothing, or charge them a nominal rate, but…no.

The Washington Post reported previously that Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club — where he lived from January, when he left the White House, to early May — charged the Secret Service more than $40,000 so that agents could use a room near Trump.

He could have chosen to do it differently, but he didn’t.

Legal experts have said there are no laws to prohibit Trump’s company from charging the Secret Service rent at his properties, either during or after his presidency. The rate is effectively up to him: By law, the Secret Service can pay whatever it must to rent rooms near its protectees for use as command posts and meeting rooms.

But there are also no laws requiring him to extort as much money as he can.

In recent history, The Post could find only one other protected person who had charged the Secret Service rent: Joe Biden. As vice president, Biden charged the Secret Service $2,200 per month to use a cottage on his property in Delaware. In total, Biden received $171,600 between 2011 and 2017.

The charges from Trump’s company exceeded Biden’s lifetime total by March 2017, Trump’s third month in office, according to records obtained by The Post. Trump’s company charged the State Department to host summits with foreign leaders, the Secret Service for rooms while protecting Trump and his children, and the Defense Department for aides accompanying the president to Mar-a-Lago and to his Irish golf club.

Every chance he got, in other words.

In all, Trump’s company charged the government more than $2.5 million during his presidency, according to a Post analysis of federal spending records.

Not bad! Of course it’s not all pure profit. Some of that went to pay the cleaning staff.

It is unclear how the Trump Organization set the rates that it charges the Secret Service at Mar-a-Lago or Bedminster. Before The Post revealed the extent of the charges, Trump’s son Eric said in 2019 that the rate was “like 50 bucks” per night.

How are we defining “like” here?

Jordan Libowitz, of the group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said that — in light of Trump’s other assets and income — he should consider allowing the Secret Service to stay at his properties free.

Maybe he did consider it.

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