With the Secret Service Trump Tower rental decision, the question of whether Donald Trump’s family would move to the White House seems to have been answered, and the answer appears to be no. It’s been suggested by the Trump team that Donald Trump’s wife Melania and his son Barron would only be staying temporarily in New York while he finishes school, but this may not be the case, while Trump himself may weekend in New York. Many are questioning the costs to both the federal government and New York City.
Costs to New York City and the Secret Service
Trump Tower continuing to serve as the Trump family residence could cost the American taxpayer a great deal. As reported by CNN, the Secret Service is finalizing its plans for protecting Donald Trump and his family in New York City.
These plans include the possible decision to rent two floors in Donald Trump’s Tower – which is located in Manhattan. The cost of such a decision will be enormous, since floors in Trump Tower run for roughly $1.5 million a year, meaning two floors would cost taxpayers $3 million a year.
According to Cox Media, unnamed sources are claiming that the reason Trump is doing this is his wife’s decision not to move into the White House with their son until he completes his current year of school in the Spring. However, rumors also suggest that Trump himself plans to spend as much time in Trump Tower as he does in the White House. Perhaps even more.
This situation wasn’t uncommon during Trump’s campaign. He would often fly back from wherever he was in the United States to sleep in Trump Tower, only to fly back the next day. But as President, the costs resulting from such a decision will be much higher.
There is also the fact that the Secret Service is considering closing down a large section of Fifth Avenue – much as they have blocked off the front of the White House – in order to provide tighter security for Trump. This could have an enormous impact on anyone in the area, and particularly on businesses.
Even aside from the Secret Service Trump Tower rent expenses and the inconvenience caused to New Yorkers, tourists and businesses, CNN reports that the city of New York is spending as much as $1 million a day protecting Trump and his family while they stay in Trump Tower.
Ethics When Using Secret Service
Trump Tower rent costs for the taxpayer – indeed all of the financial costs involved in this decision – are only part of the problem. There are other concerns – ethical ones – when it comes to what the Trump administration will be doing by splitting time between Washington DC and New York.
One of the principal ethical problems is that taxpayers will be paying a huge sum of money to Donald Trump as a consequence of the fact that the Secret Service is forced to protect him at whatever the cost. Trump and his staff argue that this isn’t unprecedented since the Secret Service has to rent a cottage from Vice President Joe Biden to protect him on his property in Wilmington, Delaware.
But the two situations aren’t exactly comparable, since the Secret Service pays only $2,200 a month to Joe Biden, whereas it will be paying over $3 million a year to Donald Trump. Given this enormous payout to Donald Trump from the federal government, his post-2016 election decision not to take a salary as president – assuming he decides to go through with it – appears slightly less magnanimous than it did.
Of course, Donald Trump could offer the Secret Service Trump Tower space for free. But it seems exceedingly unlikely that businessman Trump would ever do something like that. Moreover, even if he did, it wouldn’t solve New York’s problem in having to provide hundreds of millions of dollars every year to protect Trump while he and his family live in Manhattan.
[Featured Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]