Donald Trump became our official president earlier this year in January and shortly after, moved into the White House to begin his duties in office. Our first lady, Melania Trump, and first son, Barron Trump (age 10), however, have decided to reside in New York City at the Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan until the end of Barron’s school year.
Before Trump had moved into the White House, the city of New York was getting billed around $500,000 to $1 million a day according to The City Council and the Mayor’s office. New York City has spent $35 to $70 million before he even officially became president. After he became president, security increased around the Trump Tower area between 56th and 57th streets and Fifth Avenue and is now one of the busiest intersections in New York City. Mayor de Blasio of New York City has reacted to the bill that New Yorkers now face by asking Congress on multiple occasions for reimbursement for the security costs.
De Blasio has tried to get in contact with the Treasury secretary, former president Barack Obama, and other public officials to get the money that New Yorkers have spent on the first family. The estimated annual amount has reached right around $180 million as the mayor’s office has calculated the costs for what security Melania and Barron will need while they are living here and how much more security they will need for when President Trump is in the city as he will be here frequently to see his wife and their child. University freshman Chaahat Kachhia says “I think it’s a pure waste of money. It’s also a little enraging to know that our money goes towards something so irrelevant because Melania and her son could just move into the White House.”
According to the mayor’s office, Congress has allocated only $7 million towards the costs so far, but the city plans to seek more help and funds after the current federal spending bill expires in the spring. A spokesman for the city comptroller’s office, Devon Puglia, made a statement saying “We know we have pressing budgetary needs like record homelessness, an affordable housing crisis, and more.” and also saying “We believe the federal government must reimburse the city for the full security costs for this unique situation. We hope they don’t come at the expense of the New Yorkers who need government’s help most.”
Frustrated New Yorkers argue that the estimated $35 million a month being spent on secret service could be used for about 4.3 million home delivered meals for senior citizens, for 400 new teachers, shelter for around 9,400 families for a month, or resurfacing 218 miles of road. University freshman Miranda Baldo says “I think it’s a grand amount that we have to pay and it’s not fair saying that they have other options. That money could go to better places.”
New Yorkers that do not mind the increased security respond to spending that much money by saying that our new president is supposed to get additional protection when it comes to their high ranking position. According to a Chicago Tribune report, from the 2008 election to Obama’s first inauguration in 2009, the city of Chicago spent around $1.5 million keeping Obama’s house safe for him and his family.
Melania Trump’s decision to temporarily live apart from her husband has put a new burden on the Secret Service to provide special protection in two separate locations. The First Family is always given these special protections; however up until now it has always been customary that the First Family lives together in the White House. The financial strain then in turn that has been put on New York City taxpayers has brought up mixed emotions; but only time will tell what will come of this new living arrangement for the First Family.