The post-presidential luxuries Trump will lose if he is impeached

Brianne Tolj
·4-min read

From the minute a US President leaves office, he begins receiving a pension and a litany of other perks that will continue for the rest of his life.

Under the Former Presidents Act enacted in 1958, the former most powerful men in the world are eligible for a pension, office allowances, Secret Service protection and travel expenses.

That is however, unless that president has been impeached.

With calls for Donald Trump to face a second Senate impeachment trial over the Capitol riots, the controversial politician could lose not only his own pay check, but his wife Melania’s as well.

Here’s a look at the post-presidential perks Trump will not receive if Senators vote to approve the move after Biden takes office in 10 days.

President Donald Trump makes remarks during a Make America Great Again rally. Source: Getty
Donald Trump stands to lose all of his post-presdency perks if he's impeached. Source: Getty

Pension

Last year Congress set the annual taxable pension for past presidents at AUD$273,180, Robert Longley, a history and government expert from Texas A&M University, wrote in an essay for ThoughtCo.com.

“The pension starts the minute the president officially leaves office at noon on Inauguration Day,” he said.

After a president dies, his widow can receive a A$25,930 a year pension if they decide not to waive it.

Former President Barack Obama overturned a bill in 2016 capping previous presidents’ pensions at A$259,307, saying it “would impose onerous and unreasonable burdens on the offices of former presidents”, Mr Longley said.

Missing out on a pension wouldn’t mean a lot to Donald Trump whose net worth in 2020 was estimated by CNN to be US$2.5 billion.

People react as the motorcade carrying US President Donald Trump returns to the White House after Joe Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election. Source: Getty
Each president receives up to AUD$1,296,539 annually and AUD$648,270 for his spouse to pay for security and travel related expenses. Source: Getty

Travel expenses and Secret Service protection

The General Services Administration (AGS) provides travel money for a previous president and no more than two of his staffers as long as the trip is related to his former role, Mr Longley said.

Each president receives up to A$1,296,539 annually and A$648,270 for his spouse to pay for security and travel related expenses, according to the Former President’s Act.

A new law approved in 2013 allows ex-presidents and their wives to have Secret Service protection for the rest of their lifetimes, Mr Longley said.

Their children are also protected until they are 16.

Previously, presidents had only received Secret Service protection for the 10 years after they held office.

US President Donald Trump walks towards the media platform surrounded by his secret service detail. Source: AAP
A new law approved in 2013 allows ex-presidents and their wives have Secret Service protection for the rest of their lifetimes. Source: AAP

Transition expenses

One month prior to the January 20 inauguration, presidents are handed the first handout for transition expenses to help them move back into private life.

The payments, which are determined by Congress, are sent for the first seven months and can be used to pay for an office and staff salaries.

President Donald Trump plays golf at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling. Source: AAP
The AGS provides travel money for a previous president and no more than two of his staffers as long as the trip is related to his former role. Source: AAP

Staff and office allowances

Six months after leaving the White House, presidents begin to receive an annual maximum payment of A$194,480 to fund office staff.

The sum will remain in place for the first 30 months, after which staff compensation costs can’t surpass A$124,467 annually, Mr Longley said.

“Any additional staff costs must be paid for personally by the former president. Former presidents are compensated for office space and office supplies at any location in the United States,” he said.

Donald Trump removes his protective mask after being diagnosed with Covid. Source: AAP
Donald Trump was treated at a military hospital after being diagnosed with Covid. Source: AAP

Healthcare

Former presidents, their spouses and their children are entitled to have free health treatment at military hospital for their lifetimes.

State funeral

Previous presidents are also granted state funerals with military honours, depending on the wishes of their family, Mr Longley said.

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