The wall that went up around the White House amid widespread protests this summer cost taxpayers more than $1 million in rental fees, according to federal spending data.
At the end of June, as protests over the death of George Floyd raged, the National Park Service (NPS), along with the Secret Service, erected “anti-scale fencing” along the perimeter of the White House. Four separate contracts—one for almost $400,000, another for $360,000, a third for $225,000, and the other for $161,000— brought the fencing initiative to almost $1.1 million.
The fencing was widely seen as a reaction to the protests, which broke out after George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, died at the hands of Minneapolis cops.
An NPS spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment by The Daily Beast, but the agency claimed previously that the fencing was not tied to the protests and was in fact part of a larger “replacement project” that began last year.
As might be expected of a man who made the building of a wall central to his presidency, Trump likes barriers. In 2018, the Secret Service hired a Florida company to put up “barricades and fencing” in Palm Beach, where Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago resort is located. The six-month contract set taxpayers back about $17,000. Last year, the agency spent $12,000 to rent “privacy fencing and barricades needed for visits to West Palm Beach,” home of the Trump International golf resort.
Protecting the Trumps doesn’t come cheap. The Secret Service recently paid $25,000 for a pair of jet skis meant to keep the president’s family and friends safe while they swim. European jaunts by Tiffany Trump, the president’s youngest daughter, have cost Americans tens of thousands of dollars, and in 2018, First Lady Melania Trump racked up a $90,000 hotel bill during a six-hour stop in Cairo. On a day trip to Toronto the previous year, Mrs. Trump somehow managed to spend $174,000 on hotels without even staying the night.
Before he became president, Donald Trump often complained about the costs associated with Obama family vacations. However, according to nonprofit watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the Trump family is traveling at a rate 12 times that of his predecessor.