Speed Reads

Hunting ... sheep?

Taxpayers spent $77,000 on Donald Trump Jr. Mongolia sheep hunting trip, Secret Service receipts show

Donald Trump Jr. eight-day trip to Mongolia last August was controversial, not least because he was awarded a permit to hunt an endangered argali sheep after he had already killed one. He also had a private meeting with Mongolian President Khaltmaagiin Battulga, a month after Battulga met with President Trump in the White House, and he was traveling with a major Republican donor, ProPublica reported. Also, taxpayers spent nearly $77,000 on Secret Service protection during the trophy hunting expedition, the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington reports, citing updated Freedom of Information Act requests.

In March, "the Secret Service told us it cost taxpayers $17,000," CREW said. "We told them to check again." The Secret Service found another $60,000 in expenses incurred during the trip. An official who works with Trump Jr. told CNN that apart from the Secret Service expenses, the president's son personally paid for the trip. Trump's adult children are "entitled, but not obligated, to use" Secret Service protection when they take personal trips, CNN notes. And Trump's family has traveled a lot over the past three and a half years.

Treasury Department budget documents show that "the Trump family is taking 12 times as many protected trips than the Obama family did, which translates to roughly one thousand more trips per year," CREW says. "While we know that many of those trips have been to promote or support Trump Organization business, there are thousands of trips that remain a mystery. With tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money spent protecting the Trump family, the Secret Service has run out of money and Congress has had to dramatically increase the agency's budget." Don Jr. was reported to have stopped using Secret Service protection in mid-2017, but evidently that did not last.