Pension and classified intel: Here are the perks Trump will get as former US president

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Jan 22, 2021, 06:05 PM(IST)

Donald Trump Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Trump formally left the White House, and Joe Biden took office on January 20 in a muted inauguration ceremony.

Former presidents and vice-presidents in the United States are usually guaranteed pensions, security, travel allowances and a raft of other entitlements after finishing up at the White House. And former US president Donald Trump is expected to inherit the same.

Trump formally left the White House, and Joe Biden took office on January 20 in a muted inauguration ceremony.

For the most part, the entitled perks remain available to Trump even if he is convicted by the Senate in a still-pending, looming impeachment trial.

Having said that, the Former Presidents Act remains an act of Congress that can be amended.

So Congress likely could strip Trump of the perks he enjoys as an ex-president.

In case, it does not, here are the perks that Trump stands to get once he re-enters life as a "regular" US citizen.

A life-long pension

The Former Presidents Act says former presidents "shall be entitled for the remainder of his life to receive from the United States a monetary allowance at a rate per annum ... which is equal to the annual rate of basic pay" (in this instance, we're looking at more than US$200,000) unless they're employed by the Federal Government in some other capacity.

Former presidents aren't entitled to this pension if they were convicted in an impeachment trial or removed from office — but only if either of those happened while still serving.

Because Donald Trump's potential impeachment conviction won't actually remove him from office, chances are he will get to keep his pension.

Access to classified briefings

Former presidents usually have access to routine intelligence briefings. But there have been strong calls to ensure Trump does not continue having access to classified intelligence.

Let's see what exactly happens and on what basis.

Security and protection

Former presidents also enjoy personal security protection. The stiputaled law says -- “under the direction of the Secretary of Homeland Security, the United States Secret Service is authorised to protect” a former president and their spouse. 

Alternatively, presidents who do not receive Secret Service protection instead receive “up to $1,000,000 for each former President and up to $500,000 for the spouse of each former President each fiscal year for security and travel related expenses.”

The Department of Homeland Security, however, can deny Secret Service protection to Trump, or Congress can amend the law to strip Trump of his security protections.

Office and staff

The Former Presidents Act also funds office space and a modest staff for one-time chief executives. The total budget for such hires is $150,000 per year during the former president’s first 30 months out of office, and then $96,000 per year thereafter.

An ex-president may select the staff employed under this act. The administrator of general services, however, has the power to determine what kind of office space is “suitable” for Trump.

Allowance for his widow

The law provides this benefit to the “widow of each former President.”

If Trump dies before former first lady Melania Trump, then Melania is entitled to “a monetary allowance at a rate of $20,000 per annum,” provided that she does not remarry before turning 60 years old.

However, if the Trumps divorce, Melania would not be entitled to this allowance upon his death. If he were to remarry, his new spouse could potentially be eligible upon his death.

Ability to run for a second presidential term

If Trump is convicted, there's then an option to hold a separate vote on whether he should be allowed to have another crack at the presidency.

The Senate vote on whether he could run again would not need two-thirds of the Senate vote to go through.

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