Budget plan repays Florida and New York for Trump security

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Officials in Florida and New York were celebrating the news Monday that a proposed national budget would reimburse the millions of dollars they’ve spent protecting President Donald Trump and his family when they are at his private residences.

The bill released Sunday provides $61 million for security, which would cover expenses that have added up at Trump Tower in New York City and the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach County, Florida, since Election Day, last Nov. 8, through Sept. 30. Congress had previously approved $7 million.

The money could also potentially cover trips Trump is expected to make to his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, now that temperatures are warmer in the North.

Both New York, which has spent close to $30 million, and Palm Beach County, which has spent almost $5 million, had complained publicly about not being reimbursed.

“We are getting what we are owed,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. “That’s good news for our city and the hardworking police officers faced with this unprecedented security challenge.”

Palm Beach County Commissioner Dave Kerner, who had proposed levying a special tax on Mar-a-Lago if the county wasn’t reimbursed, said he was “ecstatic” about the news as the expense was draining the county’s discretionary budget reserves.

“This is not about politics — we are delighted to have any president in our county,” Kerner said. “This will make it easier to provide the security the president deserves.”

The New York Police Department estimates that it spent $24 million on officer overtime and other expenses to protect Trump Tower when the president-elect stayed there between Election Day and the inauguration.

He has not returned to the city since taking office, but first lady Melania Trump and their 11-year-old son Barron live in the tower. The NYPD estimates daily expenses of between $127,000 and $146,000 when they are there without the president. They are expected to move to the White House after Barron’s school year ends.

The Fifth Avenue tower is safeguarded by police officers armed with assault weapons, bomb-sniffing dogs and concrete barriers. Police have closed some traffic lanes, barricaded the block where Trump Tower residents have a private entrance and set up checkpoints manned by officers in guard booths.

Trump Tower has become a magnet for large-scale protests since the election, from the Women’s March demonstration of January, in which hundreds of thousands of people marched to a spot near the skyscraper, to more routine weekend demonstrations that draw dozens or hundreds.

Palm Beach County’s biggest expense has been paying overtime to sheriff’s deputies who monitor protesters and assist the Secret Service when the president is at Mar-a-Lago. The sheriff’s office also provides patrol boats, barriers and other equipment to protect the private seaside club.

Trump has made seven trips and spent a total of 25 days at the resort since taking office Jan. 20. He also spent time there before the inauguration, including Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Mar-a-Lago will close for the summer later this month and Trump is expected to begin making weekend trips to Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, a town of about 9,000 nestled in the rolling hills of central New Jersey, 40 miles (65 kilometers) from New York.

A weekend visit by Trump last November as president-elect cost the town nearly $4,000 in police overtime, Mayor Steve Parker said recently.

The township has estimated a presidential visit could cost as much as $12,000 per day, as it will need to staff several around-the-clock security posts. Assuming the president makes seven visits this summer, the town is anticipating a cost of $300,000.

The town employs 16 uniformed police officers including its chief, Parker said.