Elected officials have been loudly criticizing President-elect Trump and his family for costing the city about $1 million a day in security, a burden that would balloon to over $1 billion dollars should the Trumps continue to stay, at least part-time, at Trump Tower for his entire presidential term. Last week, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council Member Dan Garodnick introduced a petition asking Trump to reimburse the city for his costs, and today, Mayor de Blasio said he'd be billing the White House for $35 million in restitution for the entire transition period. But Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez has an even better solution—why can't Trump spend the next seven weeks in Florida, instead? Isn't it too cold here?
Rodriguez, who is the Council's Transportation Chair, is more concerned about traffic in Midtown than the cost of funding Trump's security detail, and at a press conference outside Trump Tower today he decried the gridlock that's plagued the 57th Street area over the last month. "Midtown traffic has become a parking lot from all the security and visitors this area has drawn," he said. "People trying to get to work, trucks trying to make deliveries, and pedestrians doing their holiday shopping in Fifth Avenue, including at Trump Tower itself, are all facing awful conditions." So he suggested Trump take a little trip to his warmer mansion down at Mar-a-Lago. "There is nice weather in Florida right now, where he should be," he said.
Rodriguez said he also hopes Trump and his family move to Washington, D.C. once he's inaugurated, even though Melania Trump says she'll be staying here with son Barron for at least the remainder of the school year and Trump himself wants to stay in Trump Tower on weekends. "Instead of being someone who doesn't care about the pedestrians and the cyclists, [he needs to be] listening to what the business community is asking for, which is that we need to reopen the foot traffic area over here," Rodriguez said.
Currently, two of Fifth Avenue's five lanes are closed to traffic, clogging up an already congested section of the city. There are concrete barriers installed on 56th Street between Fifth Avenue and Madison, and pedestrians have to submit to a bag check to pass through; the NYPD and Secret Service are also patrolling 53rd Street to 57th Street between Madison Avenue and Sixth Avenue. Businesses have been complaining that the security has been hurting their foot traffic, and indeed, it looks unpleasant over there:
This situation would really suck for Holly Golightly pic.twitter.com/S60PJP3sZh
— Rebecca Fishbein (@bfishbfish) December 5, 2016
Mayor de Blasio has asked the Obama administration to cover the security costs for Trump's full transition period. He also spoke with Trump's selection for Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, about funding further costs. "We had a good conversation," he said at a press conference today, adding, "He's a native New Yorker, so I think that is a helpful reality."
We'll see about that.
Trump is driving to New Jersey and Lincoln Tunnel is shut down for his motorcade at 5 p.m. on a Friday.
— Stefan Becket (@becket) November 18, 2016