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It's other people's money


Good news, America! That story we wrote about over Thanksgiving week estimating the cost of providing security for Donald Trump and his transition team in New York was a million dollars a day turns out to be inaccurate! Turns out, thanks to some bean-counting by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, it's actually a bargain for the city of New York, only about $35 million for the period between the election and the inauguration, which works out to only half a million bucks daily. A bargain, but de Blasio is asking the federal government to reimburse the city for the costs anyway, because New York never asked for a second White House in Trump Tower. And that's not even getting into the possible costs of Trump walking out onto 5th Avenue to test his thesis that he could shoot someone and not lose support.

At a news conference Monday that was mainly about police statistics, de Blasio also mentioned his request to the feds to reimburse the city for security related to keeping the area around Trump Tower secure, since the president-elect has decided to run his transition from home instead of, say, Washington DC, which already has a lot of Secret Service types and government offices (and where normal presidents-elect tend to do their transitions). The Trump Tower area, already in the middle of a busy district full of landmarks and shopping and transit hubs, now requires the sort of security needed to keep a president safe, a job complicated by all the tourists and protesters who'd love to see and/or shout at Trump and all the Fox News stars important dignitaries seeking jobs with the Team of Evils.

“It is a high-density neighborhood and street traffic easily obstructs pathways to and from the building, making it profoundly challenging for the NYPD to establish a secure perimeter,” Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, wrote, noting that the challenges affected not only Mr. Trump, but other residents of Trump Tower as well as the crowds that pass nearby.

The mayor said the number of officers involved in the round-the-clock security operation — from traffic agents to uniformed officers — was “classified,” but that most were working on overtime, at an extra cost to the city.

De Blasio is sending letters to President Obama and to Congress to ask for extra funding to be allocated for Trump's security, noting that the federal government reimburses the city for the extra security costs of events like the 2004 Republican National Convention or for visiting foreign dignitaries. And a lot of those people aren't even as hostile to America's interests as Donald Trump.

The Washington Post explains many previous incoming administrations, which are obviously not as classy as Trump's, have run their transitions from Washington DC,

opting for government-offered offices and telephones in downtown Washington. But Trump has used his own high-profile real estate, helping embolden an effort already aided by a private transition fund and the most public transition money ever offered to a president-elect.

And while it's costing the Secret Service and the City of New York a metric coitus-ton of money to secure Trump Tower, Trump spokesidiot Jason Miller proudly told WaPo the Trump Organization is doing its part to lighten the load, boasting that “no Congress-appropriated transition funding will be going to any Trump businesses.” So at least taxpayers aren't also on the hook for office space at Trump Tower, as far as anyone can tell. Just to be on the safe side, though, Sen. Elizabeth Warren sent a letter November to the Government Accountability Office, requesting a review of what the Trump transition is billing the public for:

“There is no transparency with regard to transition expenditures, raising additional questions about how taxpayer funds may be flowing into Mr. Trump’s pockets,” Warren wrote. “… To what extent have Mr. Trump’s conflicts of interest affected his presidential transition?”

You almost get the impression she doesn't take the Trumpers' word for it.

[NYT / WaPo]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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