First Daughter Ivanka Trump — who advises President Trump with her husband, Jared Kushner — put taxpayers on the hook for a weekend getaway at a Dominican Republic resort last August.
While the two said they covered expenses for what was deemed a “personal” trip in early August, security costs were billed to U.S. taxpayers at a cost of $58,000, according to a new report from Quartz.
Federal spending documents show a $32,064 payment made by the government on Aug. 3, 2018. The reason listed: “VIP VISIT AMANERA RESORT RIO SAN JUAN.” Four days later, on Aug. 7, the State Department’s bureau of diplomatic security made a separate payment for $26,280 through the US embassy in Santo Domingo, for reasons identified simply as “HOTEL RESERVATION.” No specific property was listed, but this payment also appears to be connected to the stay at the Amanera.
In their review of the Amanera, luxury lifestyle site Robb Report said the resort “features one two-bedroom villa and 24 one-bedroom villas, most with sizable personal pools overlooking Playa Grande, which boasts a full mile of unadulterated beach.” One night at the resort can cost anywhere between $950 and $6,400, according to the site.
“[A]fter several days at the resort, I can confidently say there is not a more beautiful hotel on the island nation,” wrote Robb Report reviewer Amanda Millin.
In a statement to Quartz, the White House defended the expenses to taxpayers, saying that they were required t have protection from the U.S. Secret Service as members of the First Family.
“The Kushners were on a personal trip and followed all ethics guidelines and rules for White House officials,” the White House stated. “The only expenses incurred by the government were due to USSS protection, which they are required to have. They personally covered all other expenses incurred as related to the trip.”
Of course, this is far from the first time taxpayers have been put on the hook for the First Family’s luxury outings. In March of 2017, the Trump family billed taxpayers more than $330,000 in security costs for a ski trip to Aspen, Colorado. That’s more than twice the cost to taxpayers when the Obamas vacationed in Aspen in February of 2016, according to CBS News.
Carl Gibson is a politics contributor for Grit Post. His work has previously been published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, Al-Jazeera America, and NPR, among others. Follow him on Twitter @crgibs or send him an email at carl at gritpost dot com.