The Defence Department is seeking to rent space in Donald Trump’s New York skyscraper, called the ‘Trump Tower’ for the “personnel and equipment who will support POTUS at this residence in the building.” according to a Pentagon spokesman, Lt. Col. J.B. Brindle.
According to Brindle, the Department of Defence is currently “working through appropriate channels … to acquire a limited amount of leased space in Trump Tower.”
The space that the Department of Defence is looking for is to be separate from the Secret Service detail that already has its base at Trump’s signature tower, which is the headquarter for Trump’s private company, The Trump Organization, and also where he owns a lavish penthouse.
Though Trump now officially lives in the White House, the First Lady, Melania Trump and their son Barron still call Trump Tower home.
An Ethical Issue,
Ethical questions about a government agency paying rent to a company owned by Trump come up with the move made by the Department of Defence. The asking price for the department’s space hasn’t been yet released, but the taxpayer’s money will be used to profit Trump if the DoD gets the lease.
According to CNN’s leasing agent the estimated cost of renting a floor in Trump Tower can cost about $1.5 million a year.
Richard Painter, a former Chief White House ethics counsel under George W. Bush said:
“I have never heard of a president charging rent to the DOD or any other part of the government so they can be near him on his travels, he should give them for free a very limited amount of space and they can rent nearby if needed.”
This interest in Trump Tower could ignite questions as to exactly how much Trump properties are benefiting from Trump’s public office.
Trump has stepped down from several key roles in his businesses and left some of the operations of his firms to his children. He has yet to tell his current financial stakes in his business interests.
Taxpayers took to Twitter to raise their voice:
Your tax dollars at work. Trump will make money leasing space to protect himself at Trump Tower. https://t.co/KY1hvs55gx
— Robert A. Petersen (@Sonikku_a) February 8, 2017
Okay, how is THIS not a constitutional violation? He will benefit from the government leasing space in his building! https://t.co/uKBmIZC3xF
— Robin (@PoconoDuc) February 8, 2017
The Pentagon is going to rent space in Trump Tower. About as conflict of interest as it gets. https://t.co/rgVg0cjnAV
— Liz Sly (@LizSly) February 8, 2017