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Trump’s Decision To Split His Time in NYC Bears Hefty Price Tag

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cost New Yorkers more than $2 million in additional security at Kennedy Airport.

Journalist Marc Ambinder opined that there is “no city on Earth better prepared to host a presidential visit than New York,” but noted that Trump Tower will become “the epicenter of an iron curtain that will wall off much of Midtown from the rest of the city.” Moreover, “Creating a permanent, sterile environment inside a 58-story, multi-occupancy building on one of the busiest streets in one of the busiest cities in the world poses an unprecedented challenge for the Secret Service and the military.” The lives and “the daily routines of ordinary New Yorkers who live in, work near or commute through a five- to 10-block radius of Trump Tower will change,” he continued. “They will not be able to move freely; sometimes they won’t be able to move at all. Whenever a president moves, everything nearby freezes.”

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Credit: Source.

Even a routine visit from a president can pose a significant disruption to the city’s daily operations, Ambinder says. When President Obama decided to take the First Lady to the city for a date––dinner and a Broadway show––his staffers had to plan in secret nine days in advance. On the big night, Ambinder notes, “word had gotten out, and the NYPD shut down 44th Street for hours, snarling traffic.” The Obamas arrived right on schedule, too, but it wasn’t enough because “a glitch in screening theatergoers through magnetometers meant that entry lines were long and slow. So the president had to wait outside in the rear while agents checked the remaining audience members for weapons. In the end, the trip took three airplanes , three helicopters, about 100 federal security agents and dozens of police officers accruing overtime. It required secure telephones in secure rooms inside the theater and the restaurant. All for a night out.”

Those who live and work in and around Trump Tower will bear much of the inconvenience: “From now until the end of Trump’s presidency, everyone who enters and exits the building will have to be vetted by the Secret Service, even if the Trumps aren’t there. At the very least, their names will be run through agency threat databases. The service will want to inspect every package that goes into the building and will insist that staffers — at every shop, restaurant and residence — be scanned with a hand-held magnetometer, which detects hidden metal. When Trump is there, all of their personal effects will probably be checked by bomb-detection dogs, too.”

Just one presidential visit costs the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey $100,000 to pull off, Ambinder says, and the costs will spike exponentially with a more regular Trump presence. “When Air Force One — which costs about $236,000 per hour to fly when fully loaded with pilots, passengers, security, gear and fuel — arrives at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, the tarmac will be frozen for at least 15 minutes before it lands. That short delay will reverberate through the extremely crowded airspace over New York. And whenever Trump travels, hundreds of people will move with him.”

A regular Trump presence, noted de Blasio at his press conference, “makes [previous protection efforts] look quite small obviously.” He concluded: “We’ll have to establish a new set of ground rules.”

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