Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner’s 5,000-square-foot Washington, D.C., home features six and a half bathrooms that are free and open for the family to use — but apparently not for their Secret Service detail, the very people who protect their lives. According to a new story in the Washington Post, in early 2017, law enforcement and neighbors say that the Kushners banned their security detail from using their bathrooms, which forced the agents to go to extraordinary lengths to take care of duty. While the agents eventually found a permanent toilet, it wasn’t free: Since September 2017, the federal government has spent north of $100,000 of taxpayer money for the agents to have bathroom access, when seven perfectly fine toilets were right there.
“It’s the first time I ever heard of a Secret Service detail having to go to these extremes to find a bathroom,” one law-enforcement official told the Post.
It wasn’t easy for the agents to find a toilet they could claim. In an interview with the Post, one anonymous law-enforcement official called their efforts “extreme.” The first toilet the Secret Service tried out was a porta-potty located on the sidewalk outside the Kushners’ house, though that option quickly fell through: Ivanka and Jared’s neighbors found the sight of a toilet in their neighborhood to be unseemly, and following their protests, it was removed. “When they put the porta-potty right outside on the sidewalk we weren’t allowed to walk on, that was when people in the neighborhood said, ‘That’s really not acceptable,’” one former neighbor told the Post.
Then the agents reportedly began taking care of duty in a garage at former president Barack Obama’s home, located nearby. However, after a Secret Service supervisor left some sort of unspecified mess, according to someone familiar with the incident, the agents yet again had to find new toilets. Next up, they tried the bathrooms at Vice-President Pence’s house, though this option wasn’t convenient: Pence lives a mile away, and sometimes, nature’s call is urgent. In those instances, the agents reportedly drove to nearby businesses with public restrooms.
In September 2017, they finally found a permanent solution to their completely avoidable problem. One of the Kushners’ neighbors granted the government access to her basement studio — which, crucially, features a bathroom — for $3,000 a month. “I think it was very clear that they just needed a place to take a shower, take a break, use the facilities, have lunch,” the neighbor, Kay Kendall, told the Post. “I’m happy to be able to have helped them.”
As expected, the While House disputes the reports. Per a spokesperson, it was the Secret Service’s decision to stay out of Trump and Kushner’s home; the couple never instituted any such ban. Meanwhile, the Secret Service has decided to stay out of gossip, as the agency “does not discuss the means, methods or resources utilized to carry out our protective mission,” the spokesperson told the Post. Perhaps the agents should’ve tried the White House: Apparently, Trump has “an odd affinity for showing off bathrooms” to guests.