Trump: Staying in Bedminster saves country money
BEDMINSTER — President Donald Trump said Friday that he's working out of his New Jersey golf club to avoid causing a disruption in New York and to save taxpayers.
"Rather than causing a big disruption in N.Y.C., I will be working out of my home in Bedminster, N.J. this weekend. Also saves country money!" Trump tweeted after waking up for the first time as president at his Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster.
With a population of about 9,000 people, Bedminster has a police force of 16, including the chief.
A weekend trip by President-elect Trump in November cost nearly $4,000 in police overtime and the town has estimated it could spend $12,000 per day now that he's president to cover police overtime and emergency services.
Congress this week approved a federal spending bill that would allocate millions of dollars to reimburse expenses at Trump Tower in New York City and Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. New York has spent close to $30 million, and Palm Beach County has spent almost $5 million.
Bedminster can apply for reimbursement from a $20 million fund covering the period between the election and the inauguration, and from $41 million earmarked for presidential security costs incurred between Jan. 20 and Oct. 1.
That money would only cover expenses through Oct. 1, though, leading a New Jersey Republican running for governor to consider proposing a special tax on the golf club. Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli told NJ.com a special tax district is one option, but he hasn't introduced a bill.
New Jersey Republican Reps. Leonard Lance and Rodney Frelinghuysen, who chairs the House appropriations committee, pushed for the money.
Mayor Steve Parker called the Trump Corp. “a good neighbor in Bedminster” that has opened its golf club over the years for fundraisers for the local fire department and charities.
While Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton easily won Somerset County last November by about 20,000 votes out of about 155,000 cast, Trump eked out a win in Bedminster, 2,258 votes to 2,250.
Loren Gilbert, 54, a Trump supporter from Far Hills who said she once saw him standing in line at the local drug store, didn’t seem bothered by any inconveniences his visit might produce.
“He has a home here, he’s allowed to go home,” she said. “If he needs a break from dealing with Washington, D.C., he’s entitled. The guy’s doing his job; it just happens to be here.”
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