Officials in El Paso complained last week that they were still waiting for President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign to pay up for expenses related to providing extra police, fire department and other services for a rally months ago. Now it turns out there are nine more cities across the country that haven’t received a dime from the campaign for similar charges, according to The Center for Public Integrity.
Five of the 10 invoices date back to 2016, when Donald Trump was campaigning to become president.
Ironically, Trump often gushes at rallies about police officers and other brave first responders, but his campaign is apparently stiffing police and firefighters across the nation.
“Do we love law enforcement or what?” he asked at a rally in Lebanon, Ohio, in October. Apparently, his campaign didn’t love them enough to even bother to respond to a $16,191 bill for city police and other safety costs, according to the report by the nonprofit CPI in conjunction with NBC and CNBC.
The expenses can be significant, especially for smaller towns like Lebanon, population 21,000. The Trump campaign bill would cover two days of police force operations there, according to CPI.
The Trump campaign owes a total of $841,219 to cities from Burlington, Vermont, to Green Bay and Eau Claire in Wisconsin, Mesa, Arizona, and Spokane, Washington, according to invoices. The largest bill — $470,000 — was for El Paso for a February rally, including $381,000 for extra police and $61,000 for fire department services. Erie, Pennsylvania; Billings, Montana; and Tucson, Arizona, are also still waiting for payment.
“When one considers how much money campaigns raise and spend, it does not seem unreasonable to expect some degree of reimbursement for such demands for service,” Richard Myers, executive director of the Major Cities Chiefs Association, told CPI.
El Paso’s mayor, Dee Margo, called it a “character integrity issue” when people “don’t pay their bills.”
Spokane City Council member Kate was even less diplomatic: “Let’s be honest, when does Trump ever pay his bills?” she asked CPI, referring to his multiple bankruptcies and lawsuits filed against him for nonpayment of bills.
Trump rally officials don’t typically sign a contract with cities, according to CPI, but the events incur significant extra safety costs involving police and fire personnel, and the Secret Service demands stepped-up support. Many cities simply absorb the extra costs for any political rally and don’t charge politicians or campaigns. Some have opted specifically not to charge the Trump campaign, according to CPI.
Trump’s campaign did not respond to a HuffPost request for comment, nor did it respond to CPI.
When asked earlier this month about the El Paso bill by ABC News, a Trump campaign spokesman indicated that the city may have overcharged the campaign. Michael Glassner, Trump Campaign CEO, told ABC: “We are reviewing” the bill.
CORRECTION: This article previously misidentified the city of Lebanon as the one located in Pennsylvania. It is Lebanon, Ohio.
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