Police Commissioner James O’Neill said security planning at Trump Tower is getting easier with time as the police department continues to execute its pre-inauguration plan.
But O’Neill said a lot is up in the air.
“That’s evolving, it’s getting better every day,” he said, speaking at an unrelated news conference in Brooklyn. “Of course, it’s still a congested area. Going forward, we’re still working with the Secret Service to work out a long-term plan.”
Future first lady Melania Trump has said she wants to stay in the midtown apartment building after President-elect Donald Trump assumes office, and Trump has said he would like to return to the city on weekends.
Last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio requested $35 million in federal reimbursements for the NYPD’s role in securing the area around Trump Tower between Nov. 8 and Jan. 20 in a letter to President Barack Obama’s administration. House Republicans set aside $7 million for the city to help pay the costs of protecting the midtown building.
“Keep in mind, whether he’s here or not, there still has to be a plan to help with traffic because it’s an iconic building,” O’Neill said, adding that whether Trump is in the city or not, “it’s still a tremendous amount of personnel, it’s a tremendous cost to the city, and we’re taking resources from throughout the city to send them over.”
Still, O’Neill said, the city has to implement “pretty extensive” security plans when a sitting president decides to visit the city — even when it’s just a temporary stay.
“If he’s here, the cost will probably go up,” he said.