It’s an emergency! No, literally. The Washington Post reports that the Secret Service signed an “emergency order” on Monday to rent a fleet of golf carts from Capitol Golf Cars and Utility Vehicles, a West Virginia company.
For a mere $45,000, an unnamed “dignitary” will ride in style around Sterling, Virginia where Trump’s Potomac Falls club is located. His preferred courses in Florida and New Jersey are closed, but Governor Northam’s stay-at-home order allows golf courses to remain open in Virginia. We’re all supposed to wear masks to walk the dog, but golf is fine as long as players abide by social distancing, remaining six feet apart, and don’t share carts. Hence the need to reserve an entire fleet of vehicles for this “emergency” golf situation.
Is it any wonder that Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin has been fighting tooth and nail to bring the Secret Service back under the aegis of the Treasury and prevent all that embarrassing, mandatory disclosure to Congress of the agency’s spending?
This isn’t a coronavirus emergency, or at least, not exactly. It’s an emergency because the only Trump-branded course available for the president to play on while the rest of country is hunkered down trying to flatten the curve is thirty miles west in Virginia, and presumably the Secret Service needed to get those golf carts rented STAT before they were all gone.
“[T]he term was used to signal a need for expedited handling of the procurement due to deadlines within the agency’s business processes,” explained Secret Service spokeswoman Cathy Milhoan, who would neither confirm nor deny that the “dignitary” in question is the president. But Trump has been unable to golf at all since March 8, so cue those sirens!
The Post reports that the Secret Service has already paid upwards of $420,000 for golf cart rentals, some of it to the Trump Organization directly. That works out to a mere $1,687 for each of the 249 days Trump spent at his clubs since becoming president. What a deal!
Of course, that doesn’t take into account the estimated $132 million American taxpayers shelled out for trips to Trump’s courses since his inauguration, according to the Trump Golf Count website. But that was before the coronavirus pandemic. Before the ten million Americans filing for unemployment in the past two weeks. And the hundred million of us huddled in our houses, homeschooling our kids, worrying about our job prospects, wondering if it’s safe to go to the grocery store, and downloading patterns to sew our own face masks.
“Golf is an excellent avenue for exercise, camaraderie and provides a much-needed distraction,” the club’s manager Kevin Morris wrote Monday in an email obtained by the Post.
It’s a global pandemic and the Pentagon is trying to source 100,000 body bags. Time for some presidential distraction!
Add to list Secret Service signs contract this week to rent golf carts in town of Trump club [Washington Post]
Elizabeth Dye lives in Baltimore where she writes about law and politics.
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