“We understand the president wanting to be here every week,” Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) said on Monday, per CBS Miami. “We understand that. This is paradise, right?”
However, she said presidential visits to Palm Beach County have cost $1.7 million in overtime pay and other expenses so far this year. A nearby airport shut down during presidential visits has lost $30,000 every weekend Trump was in town and it missed out on a $440,000 helicopter contract.
In a “friendly” letter also signed by Democratic Florida Reps. Alcee Hastings and Ted Deutch, Frankel urged the White House to pay for some of the costs of presidential visits.
“What we’re saying to the White House is: ‘Please step up to the plate and help us get this money back,’” said Frankel, via WPBF. “And if you’re unable to do that, consider curtailing your travel.”
Frankel represents portions of Palm Beach, where Mar-a-Lago is located, as well as parts of West Palm Beach. The president has spent five weekends in the area since his inauguration in January.
Frankel suggested Camp David as an alternative destination, the Palm Beach Post reported.
The letter also echoed the concerns of some local officials who have grumbled at the rapidly rising costs of Trump’s regular visits.
“I would never consider a proposal that says we’re not going to use our county resources when the president’s here. It’s our patriotic duty,” county commissioner David Kerner told the Washington Post last week. “It’s just unfair that burden should be borne alone.”
The letter also noted that an upcoming visit by Chinese dignitaries was expected to cost the area’s taxpayers an additional $280,000 just to cover the sheriff and fire departments related to the trip, per The Hill.
Palm Beach Mayor Gail Coniglio ― a Republican ― said she was “hopeful” the city could get some of that money back, The Palm Beach Daily News reported. Palm Beach safety director Kirk Blouin told the paper that staffing for protests was a bigger expense than handling security for the president. He appeared less hopeful for a reimbursement.
“In the history of the protection of the Office of the President, I’m not aware of any law enforcement being reimbursed for that,” Blouin was quoted as saying. “If the money’s available, we’ll certainly seek reimbursement.”