Trump’s July 4 event and weekend protests bankrupted D.C. security fund – The Washington Post

President Trump’s overhauled Fourth of July celebration cost the D.C. government $1.7 million, an amount that — combined with police expenses for demonstrations through the weekend — has bankrupted a special fund used to protect the nation’s capital from terrorist threats and provide security at events such as rallies and state funerals.

In a letter to the president Tuesday, D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) warned that the fund has now been depleted and is estimated to be running a $6 million deficit by Sept. 30. The mayor also noted that the account was never reimbursed for $7.3 million in expenses from Trump’s 2017 inauguration.

Bowser requested that the White House commit to fully reimbursing the fund.

“We ask for your help with ensuring the residents of the District of Columbia are not asked to cover millions of dollars of federal expenses and are able to maintain our high standards of protection for federal events,” she wrote.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Chris Rodriguez, director of the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, said in an interview that the estimated costs for July 4 were six times as much as in years past and were likely to grow as the city continues to tally expenses.

The president’s new Independence Day celebration, called “A Salute to America,” included a speech by Trump at the Lincoln Memorial, flyovers by military aircraft and a display of armored vehicles on the Mall. The changes stoked protests of the president at what is typically an apolitical event, with activists flying a derisive “Baby Trump” balloon near the World War II Memorial.

On Saturday, some of the president’s supporters gathered at a rally on Freedom Plaza organized by right-wing activists. That event also drew a large counter protest, and hundreds of police officers were deployed to prevent violence between the two sides.

The District’s Emergency Planning and Security Fund is filled by federal money that reimburses the city for its unique public safety costs as the nation’s capital. Those include providing security at presidential inaugurations, visits by foreign dignitaries and the massive rallies that periodically come to the District.

While it once carried large balances from year to year, in the Trump era the fund has dwindled. It was never repaid more than $7 million of the $27.3 million in costs the city incurred during the 2017 inauguration, city officials said.

White House officials have said that the District agreed to use unspent money in the emergency fund to pay for inaugural costs, an assertion denied by the Bowser administration.

Congress and the White House have been placing less money in the account each year than the city is spending — in fiscal 2017, for example, $14.9 million was added to the fund while $24.4 million was spent.

Bowser said in her letter to Trump that the December funeral of former president George H.W. Bush had also contributed to the fund’s depletion.

Last month, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), the District’s nonvoting representative in Congress, and Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) wrote a letter to leaders of the House and Senate appropriations committees urging that an additional $6 million be put into the emergency fund.

Source: Trump’s July 4 event and weekend protests bankrupted D.C. security fund – The Washington Post

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