By Margarita Artoglou
First Lady Melania Trump made waves when she decided not to move into the White House upon Donald Trump’s inauguration, instead opting to remain in New York City so that Barron Trump, their son, could finish the school year.
Trump’s staff defended the decision through an appeal to emotions—The Washington Post reported that Trump’s transition spokesman Jason Miller stated that there was “obviously a sensitivity to pulling out a 10-year-old in the middle of the school year.”
However, this is an unprecedented choice. Never before has a first family chosen to remain at home. Indeed, Sasha and Malia Obama were young and in the midst of the school year when they moved to Washington, D.C., and had to change schools. But the Trumps have decided not to play by the book, and it is costing taxpayers.
According to Police Commissioner James O’Neill, it costs the NYPD between $127,000 and $146,000 each day to fund Melania and Barron’s security detail. The number goes up to about $308,000 when the President himself is occupying Trump Tower. If the Trumps were paying for this security on their own, it would be a different story. But the burden instead falls on a city that never even wanted a President Trump in the first place.
To make matters worse, Us Weekly reported that the first family may not permanently relocate and that the decision is currently up in the air.
The Trumps’ ever-growing security tab has struck a chord and has prompted some angry Americans to start a Change.org petition called “Make Melania stay in the White House or pay for the expenses herself.”
I second the notion. I have always sensed that Melania had no actual interest in being First Lady, and she certainly has not made any moves to upend her life in New York to support her husband in D.C. Indeed, the New York Times reported that she was remarkably sluggish in building her staff and embarking on
First Lady duties. Instead, Ivanka Trump has taken on many responsibilities.
The school year is beginning to come to an end. If Melania and Barron are truly to move to the White House, it seems likely that plans would already be underway and that the American public—and relieved New Yorkers—would have already heard about it. The First Lady should not be allowed to stay in New York just because she does not want to move into the White House. She has created a totally unnecessary, unprecedented expense that is being publicly funded by money that could be put to better use.
Furthermore, I do not think that the excuse of Barron’s schooling is enough justification—the children of newly-elected presidents have had to transfer to Washington, D.C., mid-school semester for years. Why should Barron get special treatment?
The Trumps are used to their lives of luxury and having the ability to whatever they pleased. When Donald Trump decided to run for president and got elected, the entire family lost that privilege. It is about time for Melania to accept that she is now a public servant.
Margarita Artoglou, FCRH ’18, is a communications and media studies major from Queens, New York.