“The Donald Trump option is not an option. What we have to do is deal with the sequester,” White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer told CNN on Tuesday.
Estimates had placed the cost of the tours at at least $74,000 a week, the amount the Secret Service pays to make sure the tour route is appropriately staffed by agents.
Pfeiffer said the Secret Service was faced with a tough alternative to cutting from its tour budget.
“The choice with the tours was we could ask the hardworking and brave men and women of the Secret Service to take additional furloughs to essentially pay for Congress’ inaction, or we could take the step that no one wants to take to close –- to suspend White House tours,” he said.
But Pfeiffer also suggested that Trump and others were glossing over a larger point that the White House has long tried to make: that the consequences of sequestration are real.
“It doesn’t work that way. We can’t have private individuals paying the Secret Service -- so, that’s not how it works,” Pfeiffer said. “This is about a very tough budget cut that the Secret Service has to take because of the sequester. It’s why we should have avoided the sequester to begin with.”
Obama stated in an interview with ABC News broadcast Wednesday that he's talking with the Secret Service about possibly restoring some White House tours.