Mayor Bill de Blasio admitted defeat in “round one” of his fight to get Washington to reimburse his administration for protecting President-elect Donald Trump, after the House decided last night to give the city just a fifth of its requested $35 million—but de Blasio insisted his struggle isn’t over yet.
Congress’s continuing resolution, a short-term spending bill passed to avoid a government shutdown, will only cover overtime expenses for the NYPD and other city agencies guarding Trump Tower and other vulnerable locations linked to the incoming commander-in-chief. De Blasio expressed disappointment, but noted that another such extender will come up early next year.
“Not happy with a round one but it’s only round one,” de Blasio said on his “Ask the Mayor” segment with WNYC’s Brian Lehrer this morning. “This ain’t over yet.”
In a letter to President Barack Obama, which de Blasio and Council Speaker Mark-Viverito wrote jointly, the pair argued the city cannot afford to pay for security around Trump properties and relatives out of its own budget. They also sent letters to Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid today asking them to assist them, too.
The mayor noted that “we have been well reimbursed in some previous situations,” including Pope Francis’s visit last year. De Blasio described the current situation, with a president with family and properties in the middle of the country’s largest city, as “unprecedented.”
“It seems to me we have such an exceptional situation here that the Congress should have stepped up and acknowledged it from the beginning,” de Blasio said.
He still refused to confirm a CNN report that protecting Trump is costing the city more than $1 million a day, referring again to the figure the city put forward for the period from the November 8 election to January 20: roughly $35 million.
“I don’t think it’s right yet to speculate on that dollar figure,” he said.
Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, chairman of the Transportation Committee, sent a letter to Trump on Monday asking him to take his transition business out of New York City to ease traffic congestion in Midtown Manhattan.The Council also launched a petition calling on the Trump administration repay the NYPD for safeguarding his family and his buildings.
Today, de Blasio again deferred to Trump’s judgment on where to conduct his affairs, and predicted the president-elect would ultimately support fully refunding his hometown.
“I do—personally, I do,” de Blasio said. “I think I have established I have many, many differences with Trump. But on this matter, I believe he loves New York City, he has respect for the NYPD.”
Manhattan Congresswoman Maloney, Bronx Congressman José Serrano and 10 other members of the New York delegation had sent a letter to Congressional leadership in the House and the Senate calling for reimbursement. Maloney, who represents the Upper East Side and parts of Brooklyn and Queens, said she was “extremely disappointed” by the outcome.
“While I have no doubt that the NYPD will continue to do its part to secure the area around Trump Tower and meet the Secret Service’s high standard, our great city shouldn’t have to foot the bill for these extraordinary security measures all by ourselves,” Maloney said in a statement. “That is why my colleagues and I made this request a priority item in the closing days of this Congress. We will continue to push for the full $35 million requested by New York City and the President.”
And the congresswoman said that while it possible for the city to receive a full reimbursement at a later date, it may prove challenging to get it.
“It’s possible to get it at a later date but it will be an uphill battle,” Maloney said an emailed statement. “In the meantime the city is basically making an interest free loan with no guarantee of getting paid back.”
The repayment fight occurs against the backdrop of de Blasio and Mark-Viverito’s vows to defy large parts of Trump’s domestic agenda, which city Comptroller Scott Stringer warned could endanger as much as $7 billion the city receives each year in federal funding.
Disclosure: Donald Trump is the father-in-law of Jared Kushner, the publisher of Observer Media.