The Secret Service no longer has a command post in Trump Tower, after a lease disagreement between the Trump Organization and the federal government.
Early last month, the post moved from a unit one floor below President Trump’s home to a trailer out on the sidewalk, sources told the Washington Post. The reasons for the dispute are not clear, but two people told the paper that the price and other conditions of the lease are part of the problem. Security experts say the current arrangement could impact the Secret Service’s ability to protect the first family if there is an emergency.
“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,” a Trump Organization spokesperson told the newspaper. However, despite the statement, Secret Service officials say there’s still hope they will find space in the tower, according to the Post. The General Services Administration, which handles leases for the government, did not comment, as the search is ongoing. The U.S. military separately plans to lease space in the tower for $130,000 a month, according to a Wall Street Journal report, but that space is not leased directly from the Trump Organization.
The dispute is yet another example of the complex relationship between the government and Trump’s company. In March, the GSA told the Trump Organization that its D.C. hotel is in full compliance with lease requirements that no government officials be involved with or benefit from the contract. Ethics experts have argued that the President is overseeing a contract that will benefit him, even if he doesn’t receive the money until he leaves office. [WashPo] — Miriam Hall