“The U.S. taxpayer is paying an exorbitant amount of money to protect the First Lady in Trump Tower, located in New York City,” reads the petition. “As to help relieve the national debt, this expense yields no positive results for the nation and should be cut from being funded.”
The petition, which was started last week, will be delivered to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren if it reaches 150,000 signatures.
In a Feb. 21 letter to New York City Congress members, New York Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner James O’Neill said it will cost between $127,000 and $146,000 per day to protect the Trump Tower penthouse where the first lady and her 11-year-old son, Barron, live. (A White House aide has said the mother and son will remain in New York at least until Barron’s school year ends.)
It cost the NYPD and the New York City Fire Department a combined total of $25.7 million to protect President Trump‘s family, private home and office for the 75 days between Election Day and Inauguration Day, O’Neill said in the letter asking the city’s congressional delegation to seek federal funding to help cover costs.
According to a recent Washington Post review of internal U.S. Secret Service documents, the agency has also requested an additional $60 million in funding for the next year — $26.8 million of which would go toward guarding President Trump’s family and Trump Tower home.
The other $33 million would cover travel costs incurred by “the president, vice president and other visiting heads of state,” according to the documents, which are part of the Secret Service’s request for the fiscal 2018 budget.
In addition to the unusual duty of guarding Trump Tower, Secret Service agents are also tasked with protecting the president during his routine weekend getaways to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.
Trump has gone to Mar-a-Lago five times since his inauguration a little more than two months ago. The Post reported earlier this month that Trump’s first three Mar-a-Lago weekends alone have cost taxpayers $10 million dollars.
After a request from top Democrats in Washington, a government watchdog agency, the Government Accountability Office, has agreed to review the costs and security precautions related to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago trips, The Washington Post reported Monday.
Trump repeatedly criticized former President Barack Obama for taking vacations while in office, accusing him of playing fast and loose with taxpayer dollars. And on the campaign trail last year, Trump vowed to avoid vacations and expensive travel.
“There’s no time for vacation. We’re not going to be big on vacations,” he said at a campaign rally. “The White House is this incredible place. It represents so much, and you’re there for a limited period of time. If you’re at the White House and you have so much work to do, why do you fly? Why do you leave so much?”
The president just spent a rare weekend in Washington, D.C., dining at Trump International Hotel near the White House on Saturday after attending unspecified meetings at his golf club in Virginia.
It was also his 13th golf outing since taking office, CNN noted.
Meanwhile, his wife traveled to Mar-a-Lago without him, where she attended a fundraiser hosted by the county’s GOP chairman, Michael Barnett.
According to the Palm Beach Post, Barnett rented Trump’s ballroom for the occasion — for $150,000.