POLITICS
27/08/2020 5:25 PM AEST

Trump Jr. And Kimberly Guilfoyle's Paris Trip Cost Taxpayers At Least $64,000 For Security

The couple has recently complained about Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s "nepotism" and taxpayer-financed perks.

WASHINGTON ― Taxpayers shelled out at least $64,443 to safeguard the president’s eldest son and his girlfriend during a two-day visit to Paris in 2018 that included a stay at a $1,000-a-night hotel a few blocks from the Champs-Elysees, according to US Secret Service records.

Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle, a fundraiser for President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, visited the Louvre and Eiffel Tower, posting photos on social media, a few months after they began a romantic relationship. According to those posts, the pair then went to Monaco for a friend’s birthday party.

Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images
Donald Trump Jr. (right) watches his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, a Trump campaign aide, as she records her address for Monday night's Republican National Convention program.

Secret Service documents show that taxpayers spent $31,104 on air travel and $23,036 for hotel rooms on July 11-12, 2018, split between the Hotel de Sers and the Prince de Galles. An additional $10,303 was spent to rent three cars from an agency that offers armored vehicles.

The hotels wound up being so expensive that the agency had to seek an $8,575 “lodging variance” to make up for the overrun beyond the $14,460 estimate. The State Department’s limit for lodging costs in Paris at the time was $425 per day.

It is unknown how many agents traveled with the pair, as that is information the agency never reveals about those it protects. Nor is it known how much more was spent in Monaco because the records covered only the France portion of the trip. There’s also no report on other charges, such as meals.

The president eldest son, who is considered a potential 2024 GOP candidate, said through a spokesperson that he needed security because of “unhinged conspiracies” about him published by “left-wing outlets.”

“He gets an astonishingly high number of death threats and though he would much prefer not to be, for his personal safety, he has no choice but to be under Secret Service protection,” Andrew Surabian said.

Trump Jr. and Guilfoyle, as well as other Republicans, have been complaining about nepotism and privilege for the family of Democratic nominee Joe Biden, and in particular his son Hunter, over the past two weeks.

Trump Jr. claimed on Fox News on Aug. 20 that Hunter Biden, a lawyer and investment adviser who had come under scrutiny for joining the board of a Ukrainian energy company, had spent his life profiting off his father’s position. 

In an online event for the Trump campaign the same day, Guilfoyle said: “We’re in this problem with China because of Biden and his policies, and the way he allows his son to profit off his office.”

Others at this week’s Republican National Convention have repeated the accusation of nepotism, even though the Trump administration and campaign are replete with Trumps.

Trump’s elder daughter and son-in-law are top White House aides. Middle son Eric’s wife, Lara Trump, is a top campaign official, while Guilfoyle is the finance chair of Trump Victory, a joint fundraising committee for the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee.

Both Lara Trump and Guilfoyle receive $15,000 a month through former campaign manager Brad Parscale’s private firm to avoid publicly disclosing the payments in Federal Election Commission filings.

One White House informal adviser said on condition of anonymity that the odds of Guilfoyle having gotten her job if she hadn’t been dating Trump Jr. were “less than zero, if that’s possible.”

Donald Trump Jr., meanwhile, has made at least tens of thousands of dollars, and possibly far more, thanks to the Republican National Committee’s purchase of thousands of copies of his books, “Triggered” and “Liberal Privilege.”

The president has also used the power of his office to enrich himself. By insisting on playing golf at his own properties in Florida, New Jersey, Scotland and Ireland, he is able to direct food and lodging payments for his support staff to his own hotels and restaurants. An exact amount is unknowable because the White House refuses to release those records, but HuffPost estimates that at least several million taxpayer dollars have flowed into his cash registers thus far. That is on top of the $6.9 million his businesses have received from Republican donors from the start of his presidency through June 30, thanks to his campaign and the RNC’s use of Trump properties for office space and fundraisers.