Fox News and The Washington Post are both reporting that the Secret Service is being forced out of Trump Tower in New York City over the terms of a rental agreement.
Tasked with protecting the president, his family, and their home, the federal law-enforcement agency had stationed its command post in a unit one floor below the Trump family’s apartment.
Since late July, however, the post had to be moved to a trailer 50 floors below on Fifth Avenue.
On Thursday, a spokeswoman for the Trump Organization said the Secret Service should seek a new location. “After much consideration, it was mutually determined that it would be more cost effective and logistically practical for the Secret Service to lease space elsewhere,” wrote Amanda Miller in an email to The Washington Post.
The details of the dispute between the Trump Organization and the Secret Service were not clear Thursday. The Washington Post, in its lack of transparency, cited a source familiar with the situation when stating the conflict appears to be with the price and terms of the lease agreement.
At first, there appeared to be a difference of opinion over whether negotiations for a Trump Tower space were still in the works.
Despite the Trump Organization’s statement to The Washington Post on Thursday, saying the agency should look elsewhere, Secret Service officials told the paper that the agency is still hoping for space in Trump Tower.
Secret Service spokeswoman Catherine Milhoan said, “Throughout this process, there has been no impact to the security plan developed by the Secret Service.”
Since his inauguration, President Trump has only been back to Trump Tower once, on May 4, for an event aboard the USS Intrepid. His wife, First Lady Melania Trump, and their son, Barron, moved to Washington, D.C., in early June. But the Secret Service still considers Trump Tower to be the president’s permanent home, so it requires a full-time detail.
When President Trump or his family members visit New York City, their personal security details would remain in close proximity, so the Secret Service would still have a presence inside the building, in that case.
Fox News reported in July that the Pentagon was paying more than $130,000 per month to rent an apartment within Trump Tower for its White House Military Unit.
The Department of Defense agreed to pay $180,000 for the last 20 days of April and the new rent every month thereafter, according to the contract, which was released by the General Services Administration (GSA). The leasing rate for the space is far pricier than the going rate for a similar space in Manhattan, making it one of the most expensive rentals in New York City.
The Secret Service has requested an additional $25.7 million for its 2018 budget to cover expenses toward securing Trump Tower and the president’s “protective footprint” in New York City.
Some of the stores near Trump Tower have complained about the dip in foot traffic around the area. One shopper told DML News they won’t shop near Trump Tower, saying, “Nobody wants to be where a bomb may go off.”
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