Tuesday 25 April 2017

Revealed: How much it is costing New York to protect Trump Tower

Trump Tower
Trump Tower

John Sharman

New York City spent $308,000 (€392,000) every day protecting Donald Trump's Trump Tower residence between his election and his inauguration.

Police commissioner James O'Neill said the city spent $24m (£19.3m) to provide security at the skyscraper over the three-month period, and he foresees spending up to $145,000 (€137,000) a day when only First Lady Melania Trump and her son Barron are in town as the 10-year-old attends school.

"We are seeking full federal reimbursement for all costs incurred related to security for President Trump and his family at Trump Tower," Freddi Goldstein, a spokeswoman for mayor Bill de Blasio, said.

"Trump Tower itself now presents a target to those who wish to commit acts of terror against our country, further straining our limited counterterrorism resources," Mr O'Neill added.

Mr Trump's spokespeople could not be reached immediately for comment.

It comes after Mr Trump’s family’s trips were reported to have cost taxpayers nearly as much in a month as Barack Obama’s cost in an entire year.

The US President’s three visits to his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida since his inauguration, combined with his sons’ business trips, were said to have cost $11.3m (€10.7m).

Conservative watchdog Judicial Watch estimated Mr Obama’s travel expenses totalled an average of $12.1m (€11.4m)  in each of his eight years in the White House.

Mr De Blasio asked the US government in December for up to $35m (€33m) to cover security costs for protecting Mr Trump in his home atop the 58-story skyscraper, which is located on Fifth Avenue near Central Park, an area popular with tourists.

At $24m (€22m), the final cost was less than that. Mr Trump spent most of his time from Election Day on 8 November until his inauguration on 20 January at his penthouse apartment in Trump Tower.

In addition to the police protection, the Fire Department incurred $1.7m (€1.6m) in costs during the time period Mr Trump was in New York, according to Mr O'Neill.

On days when first lady Melania Trump and the couple's son, Barron, are the only ones in the city, security going forward will cost between $127,000 (€120,000) and $145,000 (€137,000) per day, less than when the president is in residence, Mr O'Neill said.

When Mr Trump is in town, the cost of police protection will go back up to $308,000 (€292,000) daily on average, Mr O'Neill said. It will cost about another $4.5m (€4.2m) per year for the New York City Fire Department to protect the building, he said.

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"We anticipate these costs will increase significantly whenever the president is in New York City," he said.

Mr Trump has not been back to Manhattan since his inauguration.

New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney said in a statement on Wednesday that the city's taxpayers should not be forced to pay for a "national security obligation" and that "Congress must provide city taxpayers a full reimbursement."

After Mr Obama was elected, Chicago spent $2.2m (2.09m) to protect his home, according to reports.

And when the 44th President visited New York four times during 2016, it cost the city $4.1m (€3.8m) in overtime, the New York Daily News reported.

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