Secret Service signs contract this week to rent golf carts in town of Trump club

• Apr 01, 2020

The Secret Service this week signed a $45,000 contract to rent a fleet of golf carts in Northern Virginia, saying it needed them quickly to protect a “dignitary” in the town of Sterling, home to one of President Trump’s golf clubs, according to federal contracting data.

The contract was signed Monday and took effect Wednesday, records show. The Secret Service paid a West Virginia-registered company, Capitol Golf Cars and Utility Vehicles, to rent 30 carts until the end of September.

The new contract, which the Secret Service described as an “emergency order,” does not mention Trump or the golf club by name. But it closely mirrors past contracts signed by the Secret Service, for agents accompanying Trump to his golf clubs in New Jersey and Florida.

The White House declined to comment Wednesday. Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, did not respond to questions.

Secret Service spokeswoman Cathy Milhoan said in a statement that she could not comment about Trump’s schedule or travel. She said the “emergency” referred to in the document was not a security emergency: “Rather, the term was used to signal a need for expedited handling of the procurement due to deadlines within the agency’s business processes.”

As the coronavirus pandemic has grown — becoming a crisis that has killed thousands of Americans, crushed the U.S. economy and consumed Trump’s presidency — Trump has not played golf. His last known presence on a golf course was March 8, at his club in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Since then, however, the coronavirus and related stay-at-home directives have reshaped American life — and forced the closure of many Trump properties. Among the clubs that have closed were the two golf courses Trump has visited the most: the West Palm Beach club and the club in Bedminster, N.J., where the president typically spends stretches of the summer.

But Trump’s Virginia club — which he visits for day-trip golf outings, starting in the spring — remains open.

All of Virginia is under a stay-at-home order from Gov. Ralph Northam (D), lasting until June 10. But that order allows golf courses to remain open, as long as golfers stay six feet apart.

At Trump’s Virginia club, located along the Potomac River 30 miles west of Washington, members have been instructed not to share golf carts, and not to touch the flag stick or sand-trap rakes, according to emails sent by club management. The club even added foam pieces in the holes themselves, so the ball doesn’t fall all the way down — and require golfers to reach in.

“Do not gather in groups around the Clubhouse,” the club’s general manager, Kevin Morris, wrote to members Monday in an email obtained by The Post. He added: “Golf is an excellent avenue for exercise, camaraderie and provides a much-needed distraction.”

Trump has visited the Virginia golf club 76 times as president, according to data compiled by The Post. His last visit was in late October.

The company that received the new contract, Capitol Golf Cars, was registered in October in West Virginia, according to state records. This appears to be its first federal contract.

The company lists offices in McLean, Va., and Frederick, Md. Company executives did not respond to messages left by The Post on Wednesday.

In federal spending data, the Secret Service said it had sought bids from two other companies before choosing Capitol.

The federal contract for the carts was identified by American Bridge, a super PAC that supports Democrats.

Trump has visited his own properties on more than 350 days of his presidency. Those trips have resulted in more than $620,000 in payments to Trump’s own companies, as the Trump Organization charged the Secret Service for hotel rooms, a cottage and — in at least one case — golf carts.

But the Secret Service has rented the bulk of its golf carts from other vendors, federal records show. The bill for those rentals has been more than $420,000 so far.


You can read the full article by David A. Fahrenthold and Jonathan O'Connell here

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David Fahrenthold & Jonathan O'Connell

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