The Secret Service has removed itself from Trump Tower, where it was renting space on a floor below the president’s 66th-floor triplex penthouse for a command station. A dispute over the terms of a lease agreement with the Trump Organization has driven the protective agency from inside the building to a trailer in front of the gilded skyscraper.
“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,” a spokesperson for the Trump Organization told the Washington Post. Sources familiar with the issue told the Post that the agency tasked with protecting the president and his family moved out of the tower in early July, and set up shop in the sad looking street-level trailer.
Although the Trump Organization spokesperson said the decision to relocate the Secret Service from inside the tower was mutual, the agency expressed to the Post that it’s still hoping to move back inside. The rent, it appears, was too damn high, and other conditions of the lease were also at issue.
Security experts have raised concerns over the distance between the command center and Trump’s penthouse, saying it could be prohibitive if action to protect the first family needed to be taken. The distance and amount of walls through which radio signals have to travel has also been flagged as a concern.
A former Secret Service employee told the Post that relocating the command center is like “having the quarterback of the football game actually being located in a different stadium than where the game is being played.”
Donald Trump has not been back to Trump Tower since he assumed the presidency, and Melania Trump and their son, Barron, moved off the premises in early June. It’s still the Secret Service’s job to protect the primary residence of the president and his family.
The US government also rents space in Trump Tower from private owner Joel Anderson. For that 18-month lease, the government is shelling out $2.39 million, or $130,000 per month.