Trump’s ral­lies are huge. And so are the se­cu­rity costs for cities that host them

The campaign has re­im­bursed at least one, but oth­ers wait “If we don’t re­ceive pay­ment, then it’s go­ing to fall on the tax­pay­ers”

Bloomberg Businessweek (North America) - - Contents -

Cities across the U.S. are dis­cov­er­ing that a visit from Don­ald Trump isn’t cheap. The pre­sump­tive Repub­li­can nom­i­nee kicked off his Cal­i­for­nia campaign on April 28 at the Pa­cific Am­phithe­atre in the Orange County sub­urb of Costa Mesa, south of Los An­ge­les. Anti-trump pro­test­ers out­side turned vi­o­lent, block­ing a free­way on-ramp and try­ing to over­turn a po­lice cruiser. The night ended with 17 ar­rests, five dam­aged po­lice ve­hi­cles—and a $30,000 bill for the city.

Of­fi­cials sent a bill to Trump’s campaign for $15,000 to cover po­lice over­time, hop­ing to re­coup the re­main­ing prop­erty dam­age costs from peo­ple who were ar­rested. “It’s a venue where politi­cians typ­i­cally come, and it’s lit­er­ally never been an is­sue,” says city

spokesman Tony Dodero.

Costa Mesa isn’t the only city that’s been hit with costs be­cause of Trump’s un­con­ven­tional campaign. Ral­lies in Albuquerqu­e and San Jose ended with vi­o­lent clashes be­tween Trump back­ers and pro­test­ers, un­heard of in any pres­i­den­tial campaign since Ge­orge Wal­lace’s in 1968 and 1972.

Will Clark, cap­tain of po­lice op­er­a­tions in Wilkes-barre, Pa., sent the campaign a bill for $4,752 on May 2 to re­im­burse his de­part­ment for the over­time and ex­tra staffing af­ter an evening rally in late April at the Mo­he­gan Sun Arena. “Ob­vi­ously, if we don’t re­ceive pay­ment, then it’s go­ing to fall on the tax­pay­ers here,” he says.

Nei­ther Costa Mesa nor WilkesBarr­e has yet been re­im­bursed. Nor has Eu­gene, Ore., which the As­so­ci­ated Press re­ported has billed the campaign for $92,300 in ex­tra staff costs and over­time for fire­fight­ers and po­lice as­signed to Trump’s May 6 rally there.

There is a for­mal process for sub­mit­ting such re­quests, but cam­paigns are un­der no obli­ga­tion to help cities de­fray the an­cil­lary costs of host­ing campaign events. Trump spokes­woman Hope Hicks says the campaign pays for se­cu­rity in­side venues, but fol­low­ing stan­dard pro­to­col leaves U.S. Se­cret Ser­vice and mu­nic­i­pal or county law en­force­ment to co­or­di­nate on han­dling crowds out­side. Of­fi­cials in Cleve­land, which will host the Repub­li­can Na­tional Con­ven­tion start­ing on July 18, are also pre­par­ing for protests, but the fed­eral gov­ern­ment will cover as much as $50 mil­lion in se­cu­rity costs for both the GOP gath­er­ing and the Demo­cratic con­ven­tion in Philadelph­ia later in July. Hil­lary Clin­ton’s campaign did not re­spond to ques­tions about whether it had been billed.

Law en­force­ment of­fi­cials say the Trump campaign’s habit of over­promis­ing rally seats, which cre­ates long lines at its events, ex­ac­er­bates costs. In Eau Claire, a cen­tral Wis­con­sin city of 67,000, Trump held a rally at the lo­cal high school, the town’s largest venue, which holds 1,800. Ac­cord­ing to Deputy Po­lice Chief Matt Rokus, the campaign dis­trib­uted more than 6,000 tick­ets be­fore the event, leav­ing thou­sands of sup­port­ers out­side, where they faced anti-trump pro­test­ers. “Duh, there’s go­ing to be a prob­lem,” he says. “You got a bunch of peo­ple who drove hours to get there think­ing they had a seat.”

Trump’s event cost Eau Claire $33,819 for ex­tra staff, po­lice over­time, and traf­fic di­rec­tors, Rokus says. Ral­lies the same day held by Clin­ton and Bernie San­ders re­quired no ex­tra re­sources, he says.

Ninety miles to the south, in La Crosse, Wis., Mayor Tim Ka­bat tells a sim­i­lar story. A Clin­ton visit, held at a lo­cal tech­ni­cal col­lege, re­quired so lit­tle se­cu­rity that the town didn’t reg­is­ter any ex­tra costs, while a 1,500-per­son Trump event at the lo­cal civic cen­ter cost La Crosse $15,918 in po­lice over­time fees. Un­like other cities, La Crosse has been com­pen­sated by the Trump campaign. On May 28, Trump for Pres­i­dent sent a check cov­er­ing 100 per­cent of its pub­lic safety costs for the rally. Ka­bat was pleas­antly sur­prised: “I have to say, I did a dou­ble take when we got that.” Kate Smith, with Jen­nifer Ep­stein

The bot­tom line Cities are rack­ing up ex­tra over­time costs and other ex­penses to pro­vide se­cu­rity out­side Trump campaign ral­lies.

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