PoliticsTrump still owes D.C. $7 million in inauguration costs as he plans July Fourth gala
Trump to speak at Lincoln Memorial during Fourth of July celebration
Highly unusual presidential appearance at festivities could pose logistical, security challenges.
President Trump’s 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 D.C. more than $7 million in expenses from Trump’s inauguration, 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.
Court filing: Former Trump adviser Flynn dismisses legal team
Michael Flynn has dismissed the legal team that represented him in his dealings with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe.
As a result, the District has been forced to dip into a special fund that covers annual security costs for protecting the city 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.
Border cities feel the pressure of Trump tariffs
Business leaders in South Texas are worried about managing the impact of a new 5% tariff on all Mexican imports. Many of these companies say they already saw increased materials costs because of China tariffs. Some argue that any negative impact on the Mexican economy will also hit U.S. cities along the border. © Provided by CNBC LLC Pharr International Bridge At the busy Pharr International Bridge in South Texas, big rigs line up to cross into the United States, loaded with everything from denim jeans to air conditioners to giant dump truck beds.
“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 E. 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.
Trump causing ‘more lasting damage’ than Nixon did, says columnist George Will
Renowned columnist George Will spoke to the Powerhouse Politics podcast about Donald Trump and his new book, "The Conservative Sensibility." The renowned columnist says that's because Trump doesn't “have much to do with American conservatism.” On the “Powerhouse Politics” podcast on Wednesday, Will said the departure from traditional conservatism predates Trump, but the impact Trump has had on the Republican party and the country will create significant lasting damage beyond his term in office.
Congress originally appropriated roughly $20 million for, 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 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 — such as the repaving of Pennsylvania Avenue for the motorcade — that came to $2.2 million.
The end result was a $7.3 million overrun for the event. That was not unusual: Obama’s second inauguration in 2013 went over budget by $8.9 million.
But while the Obama White House reimbursed the city’s extra costs through a plan submitted to Congress, the Trump administration has not done so, federal budget documents show. To make up the shortfall, the District tapped its Emergency Planning and Security Fund.
Trump Campaign Has Almost $1 Million In Unpaid Public Safety Costs
"I'm hopeful they'll pay. I'm hopeful they'll do what's right. People that don't pay their bills — that's a character integrity issue," said El Paso Mayor Dee Margo
That account is also filled with federal money, but the dollars are supposed to be used for the other security costs the city endures year-round as the nation’s capital. Money for presidential inaugurations typically comes on top of federal payments into the fund.
In the past, the fund has been well-stocked, regularly carrying over unspent money from year to year. But for the last several years, the federal government has been placing less money into the account than the city is spending — in fiscal year 2017, for example, $14.9 million was added to the fund while $24.4 million was spent.
Costs have risen because of various events, from the heavily attended 2017to confrontations between protesters and police after last summer and the December funeral of .
In the first quarter of the 2019 fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, the District had already burned through $4.4 million of the $14 million in the fund. At that rate the fund could be running a multimillion-dollar deficit by fall.
“The point now is that the account has been drained, and being careful with the money has not been enough to make up for not being reimbursed” for the inauguration, said D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), the city’s nonvoting representative in Congress.
The fund could go even further into the hole as warm weather brings more demonstrators and other public gatherings to the nation’s capital — and as the city potentially deals with new costs stemming from Trump’s address to the nation on July 4.
The president’s appearance on the Mall is expected to bring with it a host of new security expenses and logistical headaches, requiring security for his movements and potentially cutting off visitors’ access to nearby Metro stations.
No estimate has been produced of the added costs, though National Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst said security expenses would be shared by the White House, Park Service and U.S. Park Police.
Norton said the federal government’s failure to repay the city for millions in inauguration costs is one more reason Washingtonians should be leery of Trump’s involvement in the Independence Day celebration.
“We still have not been reimbursed,” Norton said. “And now they’re talking about yet another event of a kind we’ve never had before.”
Trump plans Air Force One flyover of Mall for July Fourth celebration.
Planes honoring every branch of the armed forces will fly during “Salute to America” as well.