Yet Trump Jr.’s decision to forgo protection could be a big cost-savings for the agency already strained by President Trump's frequent travels and large family.
As USA TODAY first reported in August, the Secret Service can no longer pay hundreds of agents it needs for an expanded protective mission under Trump, who has spent almost every weekend traveling to properties he owns on the East Coast.
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Director Randolph “Tex” Alles said last month that more than 1,000 agents have already hit federally mandated caps on annual salary and overtime allowances meant to last the entire year. Congress would need to intervene to get these agents paid.
In an interview, Alles acknowledged the president's large, 18-member family but added that there was "no flexibility" in the service's mandated protective responsibility. "I can't change that," he said.
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Trump can't pay for his own Secret Service protection because it could raise legal issues under the Anti-Deficiency Act. Yet Trump's immediate family is allowed, under the law, to decline Secret Service protection or find other options, such as private security.
As Trump Organization executives, Trump's children – both Donald Jr. and his brother Eric Trump – take frequent trips to promote Trump-branded properties across the globe, from their home base in New York to places as far-flung as the United Kingdom and Dubai. Eric's business trip to Uruguay earlier this year cost the Secret Service nearly $100,000 just for hotel rooms, as one example.
Under Trump, the service is protecting an unprecedented 42 officials, up from 31 during the Obama administration.
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