Former White House officials say Jared Kushner and first daughter Ivanka Trump may have used taxpayer dollars to fund their personal vacations.
President Donald Trump's administration received overwhelming backlash for their handling of the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, back in August, which resulted in one death after a man ran over a counter protester with a car, ABC News reported.
"I think there is blame on both sides. You look at both sides. I think there is blame on both sides," Mr. Trump said during a press conference when asked about his initial response to the tragedy. "You had some very bad people in that group. You also had some very fine people on both sides."
The president then went on to identify counter protestors as the "alt-left," and accused them of fomenting violence. He also called the driver of the car a "disgrace to himself, his family and this country."
While the Trump administration struggled to restore hope within the country in the aftermath of Charlottesville, Kushner and Ivanka were spotted vacationing in Vermont, Vanity Fair reported. The couple reportedly used a Trump Organization helicopter to travel to an exclusive ski resort.
Newsweek is now reporting that their vacation may have been paid for with American taxpayer dollars.
“Taxpayers are paying for Secret Service to accompany Ivanka and Jared on their trips and vacations," former President George W. Bush’s ethics chief, Richard Painter, told Newsweek. "Because they choose to use a Trump Organization aircraft, you’ve got the problem we’ve been dealing with all along: the government is paying the Trump Organization to protect the first family, when it shouldn’t be.”
Virginia Canter, who is an executive branch ethics counsel for nonprofit organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, also condemned Kushner and Ivanka's trip.
“Jared and Ivanka’s use of a Trump Organization helicopter for their personal use blurs the line between the White House and the family business," Canter said. She added that the move "reinforces the belief that they are unable and unwilling to put the public interest before the family business.”
This is far from the first time members of the Trump administration have faced backlash for their reported use of taxpayer dollars.
Mr. Trump’s former health and human services secretary, Tom Price, resigned earlier this year after it was reported that he was using private charter flights for official trips, The Washington Post reported.
In his resignation letter, Price said he regretted “that the recent events have created a distraction” from the Trump administration’s objectives. “Success on these issues is more important than any one person."