“It’s very possible that I could be the first presidential candidate to run and make money on it.”
Those are President Donald Trump’s words to Fortune Magazine in 2000 when he was milling the possibilities of a campaign, but the reality may have come to fruition.
While he didn’t actually make a profit on his 2016 bid, the taxpayers may be bankrolling his prediction to make a profit come true according to several sources. Eric Trump‘s January visit to a Uruguay coastal resort totaled $88,320. The U.S. Embassy in Montevideo, the capital city of Uruguay, paid an additional $9,510 for its staff to stay in hotel rooms to “support” the Secret Service detail for the “VIP visit,” according to The Washington Post.
Trump vowed to keep the country’s interest separate from his own, yet the country seems to be paying for it anyway.
“This is an example of the blurring of the line between the personal interest in the family business and the government,” said Kathleen Clark, an expert on government ethics and law professor at Washington University in St. Louis.
However, those monies paid are through the state department, who declined to comment and referred reporters to the White House and back to the Secret Service, whose spokesman once again declined to comment. The White House also did not respond to requests for comment, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“The Secret Service does not have an option as to when it is, where it is, nor as to how much it costs, and whether it’s domestic or international,” said W. Ralph Basham, former director of the service. “Think about the consequences of something happening to one of the children. The security of it outweighs the expenses of it.”
However what are those expenses? A local photographer pictured Eric Trump at La Huella, a restaurant described as the “ultimate in chic beach eating” and known for its grilled seafood entrees.
“He had lunch there for about an hour and a half with some friends and acquaintances,” photographer Cristian Cordoba said in an email to WaPo. “Secret Service was very close by monitoring. He was very kind and courteous with everyone that wanted to say hi to him. He even shook my hand after I took his picture. He said he loved the food and the place and would love to come back,” — which means at the expense of $88,320., plus $9,510.
Not for nothing, the Trumps, who do not personally own the 26-story tower Punta del Este project, did license their name to its developers. they have paid Trump’s company between $100,000 and $1 million, according to Trump’s financial disclosure filing in May.
The tower is still under construction, however its condos start at $550,000 and climb to $8 million . They are expected to be finished in late 2018. The Tower advertisements list amenities including waterfall pools, a massage room and a private theater.
“There is a public benefit to providing Secret Service protection,” Clark said. “But what was the public benefit from State Department personnel participating in this private business trip to the coastal town? It raises the specter of the use of public resources for private gain.”
Featured image via YouTube