Speed Reads

High dollars

The Pentagon is spending $130,000 a month to rent a Trump support office in Trump Tower

President Trump has not spent the night in his Trump Tower apartment since his inauguration in January, and his wife, Melania, and son Barron moved down to the White House in June. But in mid-April, the U.S. government signed a lease committing taxpayers to foot the bill for a 3,475-square-foot military support office in Trump Tower through at least September 2018, for $2.39 million, or $130,000 a month, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing documents obtained through a freedom of information request.

The residential space, for use by a Pentagon unit that supports the White House, is "far above market rate for similarly sized apartments," The Wall Street Journal notes; a similar apartment on the 62nd floor of Trump Tower was listed for $50,000 a month unfurnished, $60,000 a month furnished in the spring of 2016, and that's the most expensive recent listing.

The lease document is heavily redacted, obscuring the name of the space's owner, but Pentagon logistics official James A. MacStravic said in a March 3 letter to Congress that the apartment is privately owned and "we are not aware of any means through which the president would personally benefit from a government lease of this space." The Wall Street Journal says the owner is likely Joel R. Anderson, a businessman and neighbor of Trump's who is on Trump Tower's board of directors.

In his letter, MacStravic said that the White House Military Office had requested to rent the space for personnel assigned to support Trump when he's at his private residence, and such support typically includes medical, transportation, communications, and food services, plus likely the briefcase with the nuclear launch codes. The apartment is only for use by the Defense Department; the Secret Service also has a classified presence in the building, and requested an extra $25.7 million in the 2018 budget for expenses related to securing Trump Tower and protecting Trump in New York City, should he visit. You can read more at The Wall Street Journal.