Nearly 100,000 people have signed a petition calling for Melania Trump to move into the White House or to foot the security bill for staying in Trump Tower herself.
A senior aide revealed last month that the First Lady and her 10-year-old son Barron will remain in New York until the summer, to allow him to finish his school year before transferring to Washington DC.
The Change.org petition has over 92,000 signatures since it launched a week ago. It will be delivered to the US Senate and Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren once it reaches its goal of 150,000 supporters.
The petition states: “The US taxpayer is paying an exorbitant amount of money to protect the First Lady in Trump Tower, located in New York City. As to help relieve the national debt, this expense yields no positive results for the nation and should be cut from being funded.”
Before he was inaugurated, the cost of Donald Trump and his family’s security protection in New York was estimated to be around £1 million (£800,000) a day. The NYPD later revised this amount, revealing last month that it had cost $24 million (£19 million) to pay for the security for Mr Trump and his family and guard Trump Tower over the two-and-a-half month period between the election and Inauguration Day, the New York Times reported.
The NYPD stated in a letter to members of the New York delegation to Congress that it costs between $127,000 and $146,000 (£101,000 and £116,000) a day “to protect the First Lady and her son while they reside in Trump Tower,” the newspaper reports. This cost is expected to rise to $308,000 (£245,000) a day when the President is in New York, though he has not travelled to the city since his inauguration.
People who signed the petition have also left comments condemning the money spent on keeping Trump Tower secure for the First Lady and her son.
Jodi Quesnell from Wyoming, wrote: “If she chooses to live apart from her husband, the American taxpayer should not pick up the tab! They can afford to pay for the extravagance of living apart. The tax payers have provided a perfectly acceptable home which has met the needs of every other previous president.”
Another supporter from Rhode Island, Sheila Forsyth, wrote: “Living in the White House is what you do when you are married to the president. The tax money saved by eliminating these extra protection expenses can be used to feed junior citizens. Why is our tax money being spent on people who already have more than their fair share?”
Lyn Siegel Siegel from New Jersey simply said: “Every First Lady has lived in the White House. We pay enough for Trump’s golf trips.”