President Trump is finally showing off the negotiating skills we’ve heard so much about. But rather than making Congress agree on health care or getting China to help rein in North Korea, Trump appears to be driving a hard bargain with the people protecting his life.
The Secret Service has been stationed in Trump Tower since the campaign, and for much of that time it occupied space one floor below President Trump’s residence. But according to the Washington Post, about a month ago the Secret Service moved its command center to a trailer on the street 50 floors below. Sources said the General Services Administration was trying to formalize its lease of the space, but negotiations with the Trump Organization fell apart over the price and other conditions.
“After much consideration, it was mutually determined that it would be more cost effective and logistically practical for the Secret Service to lease space elsewhere,” said Trump Organization spokeswoman Amanda Miller.
However, Secret Service spokeswoman Catherine Milhoan said the agency is still working “to obtain permanent work space in an appropriate location,” adding, “Throughout this process, there has been no impact to the security plan developed by the Secret Service.”
Experts have raised concerns about the command post, which is usually located on the same floor the president is sleeping on, being so far away from the residence. “It’s a security deficiency that has to be resolved,” a former Secret Service official told the Post. “It’s like having the quarterback of the football game actually being located in a different stadium than where the game is being played.”
Since Melania and Barron Trump moved into the White House in June, the First Family has rarely been in Trump Tower. But as the New York Times notes, the Secret Service is required to protect the president’s residence even when it’s empty, and the president’s two adults sons still work in the building.