US Secret Service agents have stood guard in Washington's Kalorama neighbourhood for years, guarding former presidents and Cabinet secretaries. From security threats to secure perimeters, these agents have had to worry about a lot of things. With Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, the agents also had to worry about finding a toilet. The duo reportedly instructed the agents not to use any of the six bathrooms inside their house. The agents had to scour for a reliable restroom for use before they landed at a basement studio with a bathroom from one of Kushner's neighbours.
Since September 2017, the US government has been spending $3,000 a month -- over $100,000 so far -- to rent the basement studio, according to a report in The Washington Post. The lease of the 820-square-foot basement on Tracy Place NW is set to expire on September 26 this year by when the government would have paid $144,000 in rent.
According to the report, the first solution to the restriction was to set up porta-potty in the neighbourhood. This enraged the residents of the elite neighbourhood who protested against it. The porta-potties were then removed, following which the agents began using a bathroom at a garage in former President Barack Obama's house. The garage had been turned into a command post. This was short lived after an unpleasant mess in the bathroom led the agents to be banned from returning. After that the agents had to drive a mile to Vice President Mike Pence's home at the Naval Observatory. There they were allowed to use a bathroom in a standalone guard station. They would sometimes go to nearby restaurants if the mile-long excursion was not viable.
A White House spokesperson denied reports that Kushner and Trump restricted agents from using their bathrooms. The spokesperson said that it was the Secret Service's decision not to allow agents inside the 5,000-square-foot house. A secret Service spokeswoman declined to comment and said the agency does not discuss the means, methods and resources utilised to carry out their missions.
Two law enforcement officials told the news site the bathrooms were off limits. While one did not know the reason behind this, the other said it was instigated by the couple. "When discussions regarding protecting their home were initially had in 2017, Ivanka and Jared made clear that their home would always be open to the incredible men and women on their detail. It was only after a decision by the Secret Service was made that their detail sought other accommodations. The Kushners have a tremendous amount of respect for the servicemen and women on their detail and for the United States Secret Service as a whole. Their home will always be open to them and they have immense gratitude for their service over the last four years," wrote White House spokesman Judd Deere in an email.