The mayor of New York should refuse to pay for Melania Trump’s security, a leading Democrat senator has said.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, who represents New York state, said the Trump administration should foot the bill to protect the First Lady if she continues to live in the city rather than Washington DC.
During an interview with BuzzFeed News to mark Donald Trump’s 100th day in office, Mr Schumer said Mayor Bill de Blasio “ought to tell Congress if we [the federal government] don’t pay for it, New York City cops aren’t guarding it, and let the Feds put more people in”.
Ms Trump refused to move to the White House with her husband in January saying she wanted to remain in their Manhattan home so their son Barron,11, could finish the school year.
She is widely regarded as a reluctant First Lady and has been seen at her husband’s side on only a handful of occasions with Mr Trump’s eldest daughter Ivanka taking on most of her unofficial duties.
Security expenditure for the First Lady and her son costs between $127,000 (£98,000) and $145,000 (£112,000) a day, according to the New York Police Department (NYPD).
Earlier this month a petition calling for Ms Trump to either move to the White House or for the family to fund Trump Tower security themselves reached over 500,000 signatures on the government’s official e-petitions website.
Mr Trump has also faced intense criticism the cost of financing Air Force One and Coast Guard protection for his golfing trips to his Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago, on most weekends so far during his presidency.
Based on analysis by the US Government Accountability Office for a trip Barack Obama took to Florida via Chicago in 2013, people have estimated that the costs for Mr Trump’s private travel in his first 100 days are more than $21.6m (£16.7m).
By comparison the total cost of Mr Obama’s private trips during his eight-year presidency was estimated at $96.9m (£74.8m) – or $12m (£9.2m) per year – according to conservative think tank Judicial Watch.
In the interview Mr Schumer, who as the highest-ranking Democrat in the Capitol is the titular head of the opposition, called Mr Trump's tenure so far “a huge disappointment to most Americans”.
He said the former reality star had demonstrated “sheer incompetence” in office and mocked his remark that he thought the presidency “would be easier” than his previous career.
“Good morning! Mr President, you’re in the big leagues now. Of course it’s going to take a lot of work, it’s probably the hardest job in the world”, he said.