Speed Reads

White House North

People have been using Airbnb to stay in Trump Tower since last September

An apartment in Trump Tower was available to rent through Airbnb until a New York Times inquiry into its existence prompted it to be pulled from the website last week, the Times reports. But until the listing was taken down, it "represented an extraordinary opportunity in American history ... for travelers to book a room in a building housing the president's family — one of the most secure buildings in New York City, if not the world — with nothing more than the click of a mouse," The New York Times writes.

Guests left rave reviews of the apartment, which cost between $300 and $450 a night. Even the hassle of a Secret Service screening prior to entering the building was waved off: "Once you go through it the first time, the Secret Service is something you won't notice anymore," said one guest, a student from Mexico. The same guest added that he simply picked up a key on the ground floor of the hotel without meeting the host, and that Secret Service agents "didn't ask any more questions" after being told by the student and his boyfriend that they were staying in the tower.

The apartment had been listed on Airbnb since at least last September, and there were reservations booked through May. While the apartment's listing on Airbnb was questionably legal under New York City law and prohibited by Trump Tower's condominium rules, it is unclear if Secret Service knew of its existence and it is not the agency's policy to comment on protective operations.

A former Secret Service employee, Mark Camillo, told the Times that it is not the job of the agency to determine who is allowed to enter the building beyond simply making sure they aren't a threat. "This is the challenge in a free society," Camillo said. "If we were in countries that were much more heavy-handed, this would be a non-story. And every phone in the building would be tapped."