What could City Hall do with $480,000 per day?
Officials could house thousands of homeless adults, run more than 400 ambulance tours or buy hundreds of thousands of school lunches. Instead, the city is funding security for President-elect Donald Trump and his family.
Mayor Bill de Blasio is asking federal officials to pony up. He shouldn’t have to ask. It should be a given that the federal government pays for security for the president-elect, no matter where he is or how tony the digs. But the city isn’t eligible for automatic federal reimbursement for such expenses, which is limited to smaller towns and cities. So, Congress has to appropriate funds, as it did in 2009 for a president-elect reimbursement effort, and for events like the 2004 Republican National Convention.
This is an unprecedented situation. With a president-elect who resides in a high-profile building in a high-traffic area in the middle of Manhattan, the city has had to institute 24-hour security, add officers to manage traffic on streets and sidewalks, and protect the motorcade. It’s a staggering undertaking, one that has upended midtown during the busy holiday season. And it could extend long past Inauguration Day, as Melania Trump plans to stay with son Barron through the school year, and Donald Trump might spend weekends in the city.
The presence of a president-elect has altered life for New Yorkers, from those trying to get to work to others hoping to sell Trump Tower apartments. For tower condos on the market, ever wily real estate agents are even describing the extra federal security as an amenity.
With all of this comes a huge price: $35 million for the 73 days between Election Day and Inauguration Day. Congress is expected to vote on a temporary spending bill this week. Funds for Trump’s security have to be part of it. Federal officials should appropriate money for the transition, and fund all ongoing costs once Trump takes office. The NYPD will do its job, and do it well. But NYC shouldn’t have to pay for it. Its funds should go to the needs of all city residents, not just one.