As the country’s first CEO president, Donald Trump entered the White House on the back of a pledge to save taxpayers millions of dollars by eliminating whatever he deemed government “waste.” Yet, from regular trips to his golf clubs, Secret Service protection for his family and his administration’s lavish travel budget, the expenses covered by America’s taxpayers are already racking up.
To that bill, an extra sum of almost half a million dollars can now be added: That’s how much it cost taxpayers in Phoenix when Trump held a campaign rally in the Arizona city last month, according to a report Tuesday from The Arizona Republic.
While Trump’s campaign paid for the use of the Phoenix Convention Center and the indoor security, the remainder of the costs were left to the city to cover. By far the largest of those was the $336,887 it reportedly cost the Phoenix Police Department in employee overtime expenses. Trump’s appearance in the city drew the largest police response for any political event in several years, and saw hundreds of officers on duty in the downtown area to control both attendees and protesters.
“We do what it takes to protect the president of the United States when he visits Phoenix,” Mayor Greg Stanton told The Arizona Republic.
It is standard procedure for the city to foot the bill for all costs surrounding such an event, and a spokeswoman for the city confirmed that there had neither been a request for reimbursement nor an offer to do so from the Trump campaign.
Not everyone is happy with this expense to taxpayers.
“It's 2017. He just won in 2016. This shouldn't be something that the city of Phoenix should pay for,” Enrique Gutierrez, spokesman for the Arizona Democratic Party, said.
Despite being less than a year into his presidency, Trump has already been hot on the campaign trail for re-election in 2020. The event in Phoenix was his eighth since entering the White House in January. In addition to the rallies, he has been airing campaign ads and raising funds for his re-election bid.
Those funds are needed for more than just his campaign: Money donated to his campaign and the Republican National Committee will be used by Trump to pay the hefty legal bills incurred as a result of the multiple investigations into his 2016 campaign’s alleged links with Russia, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.