The industry standard.
You’ve heard it out there. You know the story already. USA Today “broke” it in a huge scoop on Monday: “Exclusive: Secret Service depletes funds to pay agents because of Trump’s frequent travel, large family.”
That’s yuuuge. Trump is bankrupting America! America, d*mn it!
“The Secret Service,” the explosive lead said, “can no longer pay hundreds of agents it needs to carry out an expanded protective mission — in large part due to the sheer size of President Trump’s family and efforts necessary to secure their multiple residences up and down the East Coast.”
The “scoop” came from Secret Service Director Randolph “Tex” Alles, who in his interview with USA Today said that “more than 1,000 agents have already hit the federally mandated caps for salary and overtime allowances that were meant to last the entire year.”
“The president has a large family, and our responsibility is required in law,” Mr. Alles said. “I can’t change that. I have no flexibility.”
Under former President Barack Obama, 31 people were protected by the Secret Service. Under Trump the number rose to 42, including 18 family members. Shocking.
CNN got all wee-weed up with the “exclusive”: “Secret Service can’t pay agents for Trump and his family, report says.” Lots of other mainstream media outlets followed the salacious story — Trump and his family are bankrupting America!
But it turns out the whole story was just plain old fake news.
Mr. Alles, in clarification to USA Today’s breathless report, later said that funding for roughly 1,100 agents working overtime in 2017 is not an issue “that can be attributed to the current administration’s protection requirements alone, but rather has been an ongoing issue for nearly a decade due to an overall increase in operational tempo.”
So, wait, it’s NOT Trump? It’s been happening for “nearly a decade” — so, uh, starting in, oh, say, 2009, 2010? When Barack Obama was president.
But Mr. Alles went on. It’s not at all what USA Today reported. “The Secret Service has the funding it needs to meet all current mission requirements for the remainder of the fiscal year and compensate employees for overtime within statutory pay caps,” the USSS director said in the later statement. “The Secret Service estimates that roughly 1,100 employees will work overtime hours in excess of statutory pay caps during calendar year 2017. Our agency experienced a similar situation in calendar year 2016 that resulted in legislation that allowed Secret Service employees to exceed statutory caps on pay.”