Spread Thin: Secret Service Protects President Trump and Family in Separate Cities

Spread Thin: Secret Service Protects President Trump and Family in Separate Cities

The Secret Service was created under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and given responsibility over two things:

  • Financial Crimes – Covering missions such as prevention and investigation of counterfeit U.S. currency, U.S. treasury securities and investigation of major fraud
  • Protection – Ensuring the safety of current and former national leaders and their families

The latter, protection of national leaders and their families has become a bigger and more expensive mission as each president passes through the Oval Office. For newly sworn-in President Trump, the Secret Service will be spread thin as they work to protect the President himself, and his wife, Melania, who will be staying in their New York City home with their 10-year-old child Barron.

It is customary of the First Family to move into the White House together as part of the transition of power in Washington D.C., however, this January will mark an unprecedented move by Melania and Barron to stay in New York City so that Barron can finish out his schooling year at Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School.

While many have criticized the decision, Melania says she has one job, to protect the welfare of her child. The Secret Service is simultaneously singing the same song.

President Trump has said that he will reside in the White House, but he also reserves the right to return to the Trump Tower in downtown Manhattan where he and Melania share the penthouse. President Trump has also said he will be spending some of his time in office at the Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida or in New Jersey where he owns a golf course.

While it is commonplace for members of Congress to travel home on the weekends, it is unusual for the President to do so, creating a unique security challenge for the Secret Service.

NBC News reported that budget and planning documents show that when the President moves, the White House moves with him.

When President Trump decides to go to New York, New Jersey or Florida here’s what follows him, including a minimum of seven aircrafts:

  • Air Force One, with the code name Comet, along with two backups.
  • The presidential limo, nicknamed The Beast, as well as two backups. Each sealed to withstand chemical or biological weapons. These are loaded onto giant C-17 cargo planes.
  • Twenty-two armored SUVs and vans are airlifted to transport Secret Service and White House Staff
  • Five helicopters, including Marine One for the president, are packed up as well

Along with the hardware, a team of Delta commandos and FBI hostage rescue agents are also deployed with the president. A military aide with the nuclear football travels, too.

When the President leaves Washington, three secret military bunkers, two airborne command posts and a top-secret mobile trunk-mounted command center go on alert.

If the President were to stay in Washington for the majority of his time in office, costs for security would be about $5 billion a year. If he decides to place-hop for the duration of his four-year term, the price of security goes up dramatically.

In New York, residents have been dealing with presidential security since President Trump was named President-Elect on Election Day. Crews moved in to secure Trump Tower as well as the space around it in an effort to protect the Presidential family. Even when President Trump is not at the penthouse, the Secret Service will still stay to protect Melania and Barron as part of their mission.

In Washington, The White House is sectioned off from vehicle travel and protected from unwanted foot traffic by perimeter fences and a high-tech security system. Secret Service has a command post at the White House and is knowledgeable of the space and routines in case of an emergency. In New York, New Jersey and Florida the Secret Service does not have these advantages.

In addition to securing the Presidential family, the nation has to also question the security of President Trump’s establishments worldwide. AP reported that businesses around the world bearing the Trump name could face an increased risk of attack now that he is the sitting president.

While U.S. companies have been targeted before, they never belonged to a president. This unprecedented situation calls for increased security no matter the threat level. Some security experts have called for all of the Trump properties to be looked at by outside security consultants as a way to prevent attack on the U.S. through the use of a Trump property.

Many of the Trump establishments worldwide have commented, saying they are investigating a rise in threat-level but will not be deploying more-than-usual security.

AP reported the Trump Organization said in a statement it has "extensive protocols in place at our Trump-owned and -managed properties" in the United States and abroad when asked about security issues.

Do you think President Trump is cognizant of the amount of resources and money it will take to secure him as the President of the United States as well as his family and properties that bear his name around the globe? Tweet me your opinions at @1105Sydny.

Posted on Jan 24, 2017

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