(Photo of Trump National GC in Bedminster, N.J., by Carolyn Kaster/AP)
The $179,000 contract, a significant increase from those taken out in previous years to prepare for the President’s visits to Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., was seen as a possible sign that he may be planning to resume going there this year. A similar contract was taken out for the Trump National club in Sterling, Va. in late March, but Trump has not made a visit to any of the Trump Organization properties since March 8th.
The Secret Service has signed a $179,000 contract to rent golf carts and other vehicles this summer in Bedminster, N.J., according to federal spending records,
The Washington Post reported. In past year, such a rental was made in advance of President Trump’s visits to the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster.
The golf carts are being rented from a private vendor, New York-based Associates Golf Car Service, which has supplied similar equipment to the Secret Service in Bedminster every year of Trump’s presidency, The Post reported.
The rental deal was signed on May 11th, went into effect the next day and lasts until October 31st, according to records posted online in a public database of federal spending, The Post reported.
This year’s contract between the Secret Service and Associates Golf Car for the Bedminster carts is more than in past years, The Post reported. The Secret Service paid the company $118,000 in 2018 and $95,000 in 2019, according to federal records posted online.
Records in the federal spending database do not indicate why this year’s charge is higher, The Post reported.
The contract does not say whether Trump plans to visit the Bedminster club soon. The Secret Service also protects his family, and Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her family have already visited the club this year, despite stay-at-home orders in Washington and New Jersey, as The New York Times reported.
The Secret Service and the golf-cart company both declined to comment, The Postreported, and the White House, the Trump Organization and the General Manager of the Bedminster club did not immediately respond to requests for comments.
Trump has visited his properties 250 times as President, including 22 visits to Bedminster, according to The Post’s tally. But he has not been to any of them since March 8—the longest absence of his term—as the coronavirus pandemic has shut down travel and consumed his presidency.
The Bedminster club is still largely shut down because of coronavirus measures imposed by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, The Post reported. The club had to close entirely for 46 days, then reopened only its golf courses on May 2nd, after Murphy allowed outdoor activities to resume.
Even after the golf courses reopened, the club warned its members against socializing, The Post reported. “Under no circumstances will any type of congregating or gathering be allowed in parking lots or on the golf course,” the club cautioned members in an e-mail that The Post obtained.
When he visits the club, Trump stays in a detached cottage on the club’s grounds, and Murphy’s order does not seem to prohibit him from visiting there, The Post reported. A spokesman for the governor declined to comment when asked for comment about the new Secret Service rental contract.
In the past, Trump has frequently left the cottage to visit the main clubhouse, socializing with members in the restaurant and dropping in on weddings in the ballroom, The Post reported. Those buildings are now closed.
In previous years, the Secret Service has rented space from Trump’s company, paying $17,000 per month for a four-room cottage at the Bedminster club near Trump’s own, The Post reported. It was unclear whether those rental payments will continue this year. They are not listed in public databases, as the golf-cart rentals are.
The contract between the Secret Service and Associates Golf Car was spotted by American Bridge 21st Century, a super PAC that supports Democrats, The Post reported. Earlier this year, the same group identified a similar Secret Service contract, to rent golf carts to be used in the town that is home to Trump’s Northern Virginia golf club.
Trump has not visited that club in Sterling, Va. since the contract was signed in late March, The Post reported.
President Trump was also in the news related to the golf industry when he made an appearance on NBC’s broadcast on Sunday, May 17th of the Skins match held at Seminole Golf Club.
“We really want to see [sports and golf getting] back to normal,” Trump told NBC’s Mike Tirico. “So when you have all of those thousands, tens of thousands of people going to majors and going to golf tournaments, we want them to have that same experience. We don’t want them having to wear masks and be doing what we’ve been doing for the last number of months. That’s not getting back to normal.
“We want to be back to normal where you have the big crowds and they’re practically standing on top of each other and they’re enjoying themselves,” Trump added. “Not where they’re worried. But in the meantime, they do the social distancing.”