A year into his administration, President Obama announced that the White House would be posting a daily list of all guests who visited him in a bid for transparency and openness. After a few months in office, his successor made it clear that these were not matters the new administration was prepared to lose any sleep over, and announced that “due to grave national security risks and privacy concerns” the White House would no longer be posting the info (saving American taxpayers $50 a day! — Talk about cutting back on government waste!).
As it stands currently, nobody outside the administration knows who is visiting the president at the White House, Trump Tower, or the “Southern White House,” the Mar-A-Lago resort in Florida. That will change this September, at least for one of the locations, as a nonprofit government watchdog has successfully sued to obtain visitor logs for Trump’s Palm Beach getaway.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) released a statement Monday that the Department of Homeland Security will had over a list of all the president’s guests to Mar-A-Lago September 8, at which point CREW will release them to the public. DHS claims it has no records for visitors to Trump Tower, and litigation concerning the White House guest list is still ongoing.
“The public deserves to know who is coming to meet with the president and his staff,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a statement. “We are glad that as a result of this case, this information will become public for meetings at his personal residences — but it needs to be public for meetings at the White House as well.”
One reason DHS might not mind handing over the Mar-A-Lago visitor logs is because, at least as of late March, there weren’t any. After a group of senators introduced a bill that month requiring the Trump administration to publicly release visitor logs for locations where President Trump “regularly conducts business,” one former Secret Service agent told Politico. “The service can’t produce something that doesn’t exist,” adding that keeping track of such information was “a misapplication of resources.”
Presumably, the USSS has started misapplying their resources since then, because they’ve got to have something to release to CREW in September, unless they’re just trolling the group. Don’t be surprised if a lot of it is redacted — anyone hoping to find “Visitor: Russian agent, Business: Orders from Putin” is likely to be disappointed. Then again, maybe not. These people aren’t that smart.
Source: death and taxes