NEW YORK: The city of New York asked the US government Monday for up to $35 million to cover the cost of protecting Donald Trump as he builds his incoming cabinet at his Manhattan penthouse.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said he made the request in a letter to President Barack Obama covering the period from November 8, the date of Trump’s shock election victory, to January 20, the date of his inauguration in Washington.
New York police officers are deployed around the clock outside Trump Tower at 57th Street and Fifth Avenue, one of the busiest intersections in the city and particularly crowded in December with tourists and Christmas shoppers.
New York police chief James O’Neill said the force was expending “a tremendous number of resources” in the area to keep traffic moving through Midtown Manhattan, and has a truck restriction in place at 59th Street.
The tycoon turned Republican president-elect has lived and worked for years at Trump Tower, his 58-story skyscraper on one of New York’s most famed avenues, surrounded by luxury boutiques such as Gucci, Tiffany’s and Bergdorf Goodman.
Dozens of aides, prominent personalities and prospective cabinet nominees have trooped in and out of Trump Tower to meet the president-elect, further clogging up the traffic.
The building has also become an increasingly popular tourist draw for visitors hoping to catch a glimpse of the president-elect. De Blasio said he was sending the letter to Obama on Monday to formally initiate the reimbursement process and would follow up in calls and meetings with the outgoing Democratic administration and Congress.
“We will be asking for up to $35 million in reimbursement for the period November 8 to January 20,” he told a news conference.
A figure of $35 million would work out at around $470,000 per day. De Blasio, a progressive Democrat, said he had also had a “good conversation” with Trump’s nominee for treasury secretary, millionaire former Goldman Sachs banker Steven Mnuchin, on reimbursement.
The mayor joked he would not object if Trump relocated to his golf course in neighboring New Jersey, but stressed it was up to the president-elect where he wanted to put together his administration.
“It’s a tough situation. It’s an unprecedented situation. It’s going to get I think better after January 20 because the holidays will be over and most of the time… (Trump) will be in Washington,” he said.