Report: Trump still owes D.C. $7 million for inauguration

By Peter Jamison | Washington Post

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s speech at the Lincoln Memorial on the Fourth of July is expected to drive up security costs for an annual event that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to the nation’s capital.

But the president has still not fully paid the bill for the last time he addressed a massive crowd on the Mall: His 2017 inauguration.

The Trump administration and Congress owe more than $7 million in expenses from Trump’s inauguration to the District of Columbia, according to federal and city financial records. The total cost of the four-day celebration, which culminated with a parade and gathering of roughly 600,000 people on the Mall, was $27.3 million.

As a result, the city has been forced to dip into a special fund that covers annual security costs for protecting it from terrorist threats and hosting other events such as demonstrations, state funerals and the visits of foreign dignitaries. That fund, which for years was adequately replenished by federal dollars, is now on track to enter the red by this fall, records show.

The situation is riling local officials who say the federal government is not shouldering its fair share of security costs in the Trump era, which has seen an influx of demonstrators to the nation’s capital. The Fourth of July is shaping up as yet another logistical trial, with a reconfigured fireworks display, increased security for the president and at least one group of activists already planning a protest.

“We have and will continue to work closely with our federal partners regardless of administration because ensuring the safety of our residents and visitors is paramount,” John Falcicchio, chief of staff to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, D, said in a statement. “Our commitment to this function is iron clad, and all that we ask of our federal partners is continued cooperation and the resources to carry out these activities.”

A senior Trump administration official said the city was given what it originally requested from the federal government, and that when inauguration costs were greater than expected the administration “worked closely with D.C.” and decided to use unspent money in the city’s security fund. He added that District officials have not asked for additional money for the inauguration in subsequent budgets.

City officials disputed the White House account on Friday, saying they had lobbied for additional funding both before the inauguration – when it was already clear the federal reimbursement would be insufficient – and afterward.

Congress originally appropriated roughly $20 million for Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017, records show. Although the event was more sparsely attended than either of President Barack Obama’s inaugurations – famously leading to a dispute between White House officials and the Washington press corps over the size of the crowd at Trump’s inaugural address – the costs of hosting it were still formidable.

Most of the expense, about $14 million, came from D.C. police deployments. Among the other line items were fire and emergency medical services, which cost $3.6 million, and transportation services – …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


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