The Corner

Politics & Policy

The Press Suddenly Realizes the Office of the Presidency Costs a Lot

From the Tuesday edition of the Morning Jolt:

The Press Suddenly Realizes a President’s Life Is Opulent and Expensive

Wait, now there are complaints about the expenses surrounding the security bubble around the president-elect?

Protecting President-elect Donald Trump and his family is costing New York City more than $1 million a day, according to three city officials.

Adding to the expense is the cost of police assigned to Trump’s adult children and his grandchildren, who are also receiving Secret Service protection, John Miller, NYPD’s deputy commissioner of intelligence & counterterrorism, told WCBS Monday. All of them live in the city, and all are entitled to receive Secret Service protection.

“The number one imperative here is safety and security. We owe that to the president elect, his family and his team,” said New York Mayor Bill de Blasio at a press conference on Friday. But he added the city will need help with those costs, particularly police overtime.

“This is a very substantial undertaking. It will take substantial resources,” he said. “We will begin the conversation with the federal government shortly on reimbursement for the NYPD for some of the costs that we are incurring.”

Yes, we did go through a variation of this when Obama was elected. Except the local papers had to file a FOIA request, and the complaints from the Chicago city government seemed pretty muted.

The Chicago Police Department has spent at least $2.2 million to secure President Barack Obama’s Kenwood residence since he was elected in November, according to documents released Monday by the city.

The department will be reimbursed by the federal government for more than $1.5 million of those costs. But the expense of protecting the president’s home since his January inauguration — nearly $650,000 through the end of April — is not currently scheduled to be paid back, according to the city’s response to a Freedom of Information Act request from the Tribune.

//“There is no reimbursement mechanism currently in place for this [post-inauguration] money,” the city’s Office of Legal Affairs said in the written response.

According to the city, the cost to secure Obama’s home between Nov. 5, 2008, and Jan. 18 was more than $1.5 million — most of which the city “expects” to be reimbursed because of his status as president-elect.

Everything’s more expensive in New York!

Meanwhile, Jack Shafer calls for abolishing the office and small budget allotted for the First Lady.

Now is as good a time as any to eliminate the ceremonial office of the “first lady,” that abhorrent honorific we apply to the president’s wife, and encourage the first spouse to live like an ordinary citizen. All we need is for Melania to agree.

Yes, defund the ridiculously large staff that currently earns upward of $1.5 million a year serving Michelle Obama; abolish the federally funded bully pulpit from which the presidential spouses have historically advocated for healthy eating, literacy, child welfare, anti-drug programs, mental health issues and beautification of highways. The president’s spouse isn’t a specimen of American royalty. By giving her a federal budget and nonstop press coverage, we endorse a pernicious kind of neo-nepotism that says, pay special attention to the person not because she’s earned it or is inherently worthy of our notice but because of who she’s related to by marriage.

Shafer insists he would say the same for a Democrat, and Bill Clinton’s post-presidential pension and staff would make the First Husband’s office and budget even more unnecessary.

He concludes, “The office of the first spouse is a rancid barrel of presidential pork that has outlived its usefulness.” We can have that argument, but to resuscitate an old phrase from liberal blogs during the Bush years, I question the timing.