NYC Council Launches Petition Demanding Trump Administration Repay NYPD for Protection

NYPD officers guard the entrance to Trump Tower.

NYPD officers guard the entrance to Trump Tower. Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

Leaders of the New York City Council have begun collecting signatures calling on President-elect Donald Trump promise not to leave his hometown footing the bill for protecting his family and buildings

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Upper East Side Councilman Daniel Garodnick—both Democrats and backers of Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid—have already attracted nearly 1,500 endorsements to a Change.org petition urging the incoming commander-in-chief to arrange federal reimbursements for the additional security around his relatives and eponymous properties. The pair of local pols reiterated the widely reported $1 million-a-day estimated cost of stationing police and assorted city personnel around Trump Tower and other locations, a figure Mayor Bill de Blasio has refused to confirm.

“The provision of security services for presidents-elect must be the obligation of the federal government. And accordingly, we believe that the cost of that obligation must be borne by the federal government, not the City of New York,” the petition reads. “And accordingly, we believe that the cost of that obligation must be borne by the federal government, not the City of New York.”

The petition notes the nearly $83.5 billion the city intends to spend in fiscal year 2017—not only on first responders, but education, sanitation, hospitals, housing, social work and city infrastructure

“We already stretch our municipal budget to provide basic services,” the pair wrote. “These services would suffer if we must divert funds to police protection.”

The city already allocated funds to enlarge the police force by some 1,300 officers last June, around the same time Trump launched his improbable bid for the White House. Now, it appears Trump plans to leave his wife and young son in New York, and may return to the city himself on weekends.

“Should you or your family members choose to reside in Trump Tower for any length of time following your inauguration, the cost of security for that time also should be borne by the federal government,” Mark-Viverito and Garodnick wrote. “While NYPD is both equipped and able to participate in ensuring your and your family’s protection, we must not allow this cost to blow a massive hole in New York City’s budget.”

The two Council members ended with an appeal to Trump’s hometown pride.

“Let’s end the suspense: We ask you to commit the necessary federal funds to reimburse New York for all costs of protecting you and your family—both before and after your inauguration as President of the United States of America,” the petition reads. “As a lifelong New Yorker, you understand the importance of a vibrant local economy, and one that has the resources to operate. Make it clear today that New York City is not going to get stuck with the bill.”

The Council shared the petition through its official Facebook page.

Trump’s team did not respond to a request for comment. However, Staten Island Councilman Joseph Borelli—the president-elect’s most vocal and visible supporter in the five boroughs—agreed generally with his colleagues’ insistence that Washington should cover the added expenses.

But he disputed the $1 million daily price tag, citing numbers from the Independent Budget Office that found protecting President Barack Obama during a recent two-day visit cost the city just $250,000

“There’s just no truth that the million-dollar a day number is accurate,” he said, noting that the city has long extended extra personnel to guarding the headquarters of the Clinton Foundation. “I don’t recall any of these Democrats complaining when former President Clinton set up his office in New York City and there were additional security costs.”

 

De Blasio said recently he had made a “very, very strong case” to the current administration for refunding the city for its Trump-related expenditures so far. Both requests for reimbursements come as de Blasio and Mark-Viverito have vowed to defy Trump’s deportation and Muslim registry plans, which city Comptroller Scott Stringer has warned could endanger some $7 billion in federal outlays for anti-terrorism efforts, public housing, hospitals and other social services.

Read the petition in full below:

At an estimated $1 million per day, protecting you, your family and your home at Trump Tower will total over one billion dollars during your four-year term. This represents an extraordinary financial burden for New York City taxpayers.
We the undersigned, including the Speaker of the New York City Council, Melissa Mark Viverito; your local City Council Member, Dan Garodnick; and the many, many ordinary New Yorkers whose taxes contribute to New York’s budget, strongly believe that the provision of security services for Presidents-elect must be the obligation of the federal government. And accordingly, we believe that the cost of that obligation must be borne by the federal government, not the City of New York.
We already stretch our municipal budget to provide basic services—like police, sanitation, and the education of 1.1 million public school students. These services would suffer if we must divert funds to police protection.
Further, should you or your family members choose to reside in Trump Tower for any length of time following your inauguration, the cost of security for that time also should be borne by the federal government. While NYPD is both equipped and able to participate in ensuring your and your family’s protection, we must not allow this cost to blow a massive hole in New York City’s budget.
Let’s end the suspense: We ask you to commit the necessary federal funds to reimburse New York for all costs of protecting you and your family—both before and after your inauguration as President of the United States of America.
As a lifelong New Yorker, you understand the importance of a vibrant local economy, and one that has the resources to operate. Make it clear today that New York City is not going to get stuck with the bill.

Disclosure: Donald Trump is the father-in-law of Jared Kushner, the publisher of Observer Media.

NYC Council Launches Petition Demanding Trump Administration Repay NYPD for Protection