posted at 8:41 am on February 9, 2017 by Andrew Malcolm
The Trump Organization is landlord to thousands of people and companies around the world. Now, it’s adding the Trump Administration’s Defense Department to its list of tenants.
A Pentagon spokesman confirmed to CNN it “is working through appropriate channels and in accordance with all applicable legal requirements in order to acquire a limited amount of leased space in Trump Tower. The space is necessary for the personnel and equipment who will support the POTUS at his residence in the building.”
Such a set-up is not unprecedented to provide the commander-in-chief and staff with instant military communications for day-to-day operations and in the event of an emergency. The military made similar arrangements for Barack Obama’s private home on Chicago’s embattled South Side and George W. Bush’s rural ranch in Texas.
CNN was delighted to report that rental fees for a floor in Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue could cost taxpayers upwards of $1.5 million a year. Of course, no one said Defense was interested in a whole floor. An entire floor of skyscraper would not seem to qualify as “a limited amount of leased space.” But since when have such nuances inhibited recent reporting on the presidency of Donald Trump who is, by the way, taking none of his authorized $400,000 annual salary?
Trump has turned over control of his vast holdings to sons Eric and Donald Jr. But stand-by anyway for White House critics’ surefire suggestions of conflict of interest that a President Trump would somehow benefit financially from the Trump Tower rental.
Unreported recently is news that former Vice President Joe Biden charged the Secret Service rent to occupy a cottage on his Delaware property so it could protect him around-the-clock. Such a sweet deal to be paid to facilitate protection of himself, on top of his $230,000 annual salary, free transportation everywhere courtesy of the Secret Service and free housing at the Naval Observatory in Washington, did not seem to outrage the media throughout the Obama-Biden reign.
Even though Biden is the same Democrat who helped run an early Obama anti-waste campaign, saying: “The President and I are committed to changing the way government works and we are stepping up the hunt for misspent dollars.”
Jim McElhatton, who first reported on Biden’s rental to the federal government in the Washington Times, also noted how the rent Biden was charging increased during his official tenure to almost $20,000 a year. The Secret Service dodged any comment on the seemliness of an elected official making a financial gain from his bodyguards by saying it was a rental property. So, naturally, it paid rent. The same could not possibly be true for Trump, could it?