The 1958 Former Presidents Act assures that no president leaves office without being set for life—it guarantees a pension, access to health insurance, office space and staff. There is, however, one exception: These perks are only granted to presidents who aren’t removed from office in an impeachment trial.
For Donald Trump, who boasts of being a billionaire (though one who appeared to be headed for financial troubles, even before Wednesday’s insurrection), the pension may not be a big deal. It is lavish, set to be $219,000 this year, but a fraction of what Trump earns from his business. But losing other perks, like subsidies to maintain an office and staff to burnish his legacy, might
Regardlesss of what Congress decides, one perk Trump will get to keep is his Secret Service detail—a 2013 amendment to the law guaranteed lifetime protection, even to presidents removed from office.
No one knows how much is spent on protecting former presidents—the Secret Service budget for that is kept secret—but it’s not a small number. While in office, Trump has billed taxpayers more than $1.1. million for Secret Service personnel to stay at his properties, including renting the agency a cottage at his Bedminster golf course for $21,000 per month.
On Friday, House Democrats said they were moving quickly towards impeachment. They would need support from a substantial number of Senate Republicans in order to convict Trump; if the president were impeached but acquitted in the Senate, he would still have access to all of the post-presidency benefits. No president has ever been denied these benefits, and a government legal opinion in 1974 found that even Richard Nixon, who resigned but was not removed, was eligible.
* Correction: This article originally said that presidents who are removed from office lose their Secret Service protection. That provision was amended in 2013 to guarantee protection to all former presidents, regardless of how they leave office.