Ordered not to use any of the half-dozen bathrooms inside the couple’s house, Secret Service details allocated to President Trump’s daughter and son-in-law spent months finding a reliable toilet that could be used on the job, according to neighbors and law enforcement officials. After resorting to a porta-pot as well as bathrooms in the nearby home of former President Barack Obama and the not-so-nearby residence of Vice President Pence, agents finally found a toilet to call their own.
But it cost American taxpayers a price. Since September 201
A White House spokesman denied that Trump and Kushner restricted agents from their 5,000-square-foot home with its six bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms, claiming it was the secret service’s decision not to let the protective detail inside. This account is contested by a law enforcement official who is aware of the situation and who said the agents were kept out at the request of the family.
A Secret Service spokeswoman declined to comment, saying the agency “does not discuss the means, methods or resources used to carry out our protective mission.”
Arrangements that allow for some distance between Secret Service agents and those they guard are not uncommon, especially when the agency’s “resources, methods, or resources” involve plumbing indoors. The people who qualify for such protection often occupy expensive, expansive properties where a detail can use a garage, pool house or other outbuilding such as command post, break room and bathroom.
The episode in Kalorama is unusual because of the length that the agents’ exile took them with. In addition to their reliance on the restrooms used by other agents assigned to Obama and Pence, the detail occasionally came into neighborhood businesses to take advantage of the facilities.
“This is the first time I’ve ever heard of a Secret Service detail going to these extremes to find a bathroom,” said an official familiar with the situation.
The agents’ bizarre odyssey played out in full view of a wealthy enclave in northwest Washington, where many deplores the Trump presidency and has expressed frustration over what they consider the Kushner family’s disregard for their neighbors. The community also includes several embassies and a house owned by Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and owner of The Washington Post.
The blockade of expensive parking lots on the street by the Trump / Kushner Secret Service detail shook the neighborhood in early 2017. The porta pot raised for agents angered additional residents unaccustomed to such attractions on state-owned Tracy Place NW. As the Trump administration enters its final days with the president accused for the second time of calling for a deadly attack on the Capitol, eyes in Kalorama are peeled for the sight of moving trucks.
“They came in with the attitude, ‘We are royalty,'” said Dianne Bruce, who until recently lived across the street, about Kushner and Trump. “When they put the porta pot just outside on the sidewalk, we got not allowed to go on, that was when people in the neighborhood said, ‘It really is not acceptable.’ “
Bruce said she felt sympathy for the family’s protective detail when she saw agents try to balance the duty call with nature’s call.
“These poor people,” she remembers thinking as the portapot was pulled away. “What, they’ll have to get in their cars” to go to the bathroom?
Two law enforcement officials said the bathrooms inside Trump / Kushner homes were declared without limits to the people who protected them from the beginning. One official did not know the reason for this restriction, while the other said it was encouraged by the couple. Both spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of security arrangements for the president’s family.
White House spokesman Judd Deere denied that Trump and Kushner ever requested that their Secret Service details not be used in the bathrooms of their homes.
“When discussions about protecting their homes were originally conducted in 2017, Ivanka and Jared made it clear that their homes would always be open to the incredible men and women on their details. It was only after a decision was made by [Secret Service] were made that their details sought other housing, ”Deere wrote in an email. “The Kushners have an enormous respect for the soldiers and women in their details and for the secret service of the United States as a whole. Their home will always be open to them, and they have had tremendous gratitude for their service for the past four years. ”
The porta pot was the agency’s original solution to the dilemma with the protective detail, but it was removed in light of the neighborhood’s protests. Then, according to law enforcement officials, agents began using a bathroom in a garage in Obama’s house, which the former president’s protective detail had turned into a command post.
Obama did not use the garage, so the extra traffic to and from the command post did not cause any problem. Yet that solution was also short-lived after a secret service inspector from the Trump / Kushner detail left an unpleasant mess in the Obama bathroom at some point before the fall of 2017, according to a person who was briefed on the event. It asked the leaders of Obama detailed about banning agents on the streets from returning.
The agents assigned to the president’s daughter and son-in-law began driving a mile to Pence’s home at the Naval Observatory, where they were allowed to use a bathroom in a free-standing watchtower. If they did not have time for that outing, law enforcement officials said they trusted the hospitality of nearby restaurants.
So when the Secret Service knocked on Kay Kendall’s door in September 2017, she was not surprised to hear why.
“I think it was very clear that they just needed a place to take a bath, take a break, use the facilities, have lunch,” said Kendall, president of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and married. with Jack Davies, founder of AOL International. “I’m glad I could have helped them.”
Aside from the Kalorama house where she lives, Kendall owns a home across the street from Trump and Kushner. The house has a basement unit, including a bathroom that is accessible from the rear. She thought about breaking this space away and ran the idea of the tenant of the house, former Connecticut Congressman Anthony “Toby” Moffett Jr.
“I told her, ‘It’s fine if you reduce the rent,'” Moffett recalled.
General administration records show that the lease of the 820-square-foot basement on Tracy Place NW began on September 27, 2017. It expires on September 26 this year, after which the federal government will have paid a total of $ 144,000 for the space.
Secret Service agents typically seek low-profile locations for their command post and restroom, said Steve Atkiss, who served as special operations assistant for former President George W. Bush and chief of staff at U.S. Customs and Border Protection. For example, Andy Card, former chief of staff at the White House, had set up a trailer for his protective detail at the end of his block in Virginia, Atkiss recalled. At the Bush family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, a building was designed specifically for the security details of two former presidents, he said.
“I’ve seen it perform 1,000 different ways,” Atkiss said. “They do not want to be in their personal space.”
In Kalorama, Kushner / Trump agents were happy with their new excavations, law enforcement officials said. The studio had plenty of natural light. Some considered it a well-known lawyer’s investigation. Most importantly, it opened in a tidy bathroom.
“It has not been a big deal,” Moffett said. “They have been very kind to our grandchildren.”
The Secret Service has repeatedly incurred serious costs in providing protection to President Trump’s children. In October, The Post reported that Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. had enriched their family’s business when the Trump organization charged the federal government at least $ 238,000 for agents’ residencies when the trio and their families visited Trump properties. Trump says he lost billions of dollars as president instead of running his business, which his sons have run for the past four years.
Deere declined to comment on how long Trump and Kushner plan to stay in Kalorama after President Trump leaves office next week.
Some neighbors are looking forward to their exit.
“I want my cozy, quiet neighborhood back,” said Marti Robinson, a lawyer who lives across the street and was an Obama-appointed member of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
One Tuesday recently, some quietly seemed to have returned. There was no sign of activity in the Kushner family home with its gray exterior shutters and white brick bricks. Black SUVs were parked in front.
A door to one of these SUVs opened and revealed what was currently the only sign of life on the streets: A man wearing a dark suit, badge and maroon tie. He walked purposefully across the street with his arms right at his sides and disappeared behind the house whose basement is rented by the U.S. government. Five minutes later he came again, walked again on the street, and got back into his vehicle.
David A. Fahrenthold contributed to this report.