Trump Inc. fleeces US Government to keep nuclear button in-house

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In a move unheard of in any democratic country regarding its head of state (both personal and as an institution) and his/her official trappings, the Trump government has:

1. moved the presidential bodyguard local co-ordination centre out of Trump tower to a trailer on the New York sidewalk, 50 floors below, and
2. made the presidential military staff, keepers of the famous “football” containing the infamous nuclear button, accept an extortionate lease price to keep it located inside Trump Tower.

At least, that is what the Washington Post has discovered.

In US politics, it is quite usual that the essential entourage of a president, as president and commander-in-chief, has premises on all locations and in all buildings a president resides in or which he (when will it be a she?) owns. With the Kennedy’s and George Bush senior these included their family summer residences in Massachusetts and Maine.

After being elected president in 1968, Richard Nixon, as California-born politician, asked an aide to find him a summer house (“hideaway”) in that state, and when it was found, he had the house (soon to be dubbed the West Coast White House) altered to cater for the residency and security concerns of the Secret Service starting with a massive wall around this residence. It is now inside a gated community; I don’t know if it was that way in the 1970’s.

The Secret Service is charged with protecting the US currency and (Wikipedia): “ensuring the safety of current and former national leaders and their families, such as the President, past Presidents, Vice Presidents, presidential candidates, visiting heads of state, and foreign embassies”. The presidential residences are added to the standard list of 136 field offices dotted all around the US and in many European and world capitals.

The president is the US commander in chief, so he is accompanied wherever he goes or stays by staff of the White House Military Office, one of whom stays near the president’s person carrying the football, a suitcase containing the nuclear button able to launch nuclear weapons and ICBM’s at a moment’s notice.

When Trump stayed at his Florida (commercially exploited) residence Mar-a-Lago last February, hosting the Japanese prime minister, a North Korean missile crisis occurred, and the US Marine carrying the football was photographed by private citizens sitting at the next dinner table. Since then, an Act has been debated in Congress to register and control everybody staying as hotel guests at the estate during Trump’s stays .

So it is extraordinary that the Secret Service detail at New York Trump Tower has been removed to a trailer on the sidewalk outside, and the military staff pays an extortionate lease to stay inside Trump Tower… especially since the Secret Service Trump Tower office acts as the co-ordinating centre during all New York visits by Trump.

* Bernard Aris is a Dutch historian (university of Leiden), and Documentation assistant to the D66 parliamentary Party. He is a member of the Brussels/EU branch of the LibDems.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • But what’s it got to do with you Bernard?
    The Americans can elect who they like. They may be pleased or not pleased with their choice no one will truly know until he presents himself to them again. Let them get on with it and MOYB.

  • I think it has everything to do with us on this side of the Atlantic. While the White House is being occupied by an unpredictable maverick, who sidelines his own Security Service, our safety and security over here is at risk.

  • Bernard Aris 7th Aug '17 - 8:20pm

    It is on purpose that I refer to, and compare Trumps money-grabbing behaviour in treating the Secret Service (“the Sevice”) and the White House Military Office (WHMO) with how that other president famous for his adversarial relationship with the Washington quality press people, Richard Nixon, handled it. Everybody watching the movie “all the Presidents Men” will see a White House obsessed with hostility to journalists and to transparency. It’s also about chasing leaks: Nixon had the same mercenary agents (“plumbers”) who broke into the Watergate Building to bug and tap the top of the Democratic presidential & congressional campaign in 1972, break into the office of the psycho-analyst of Daniel Elsberg, the top Pentagon official who leaked the “Pentagon Papers” about how the US escalated and mishandled the Vietnam crisis of the early ‘60s into a humiliating war for the USA.
    Even that president, Nixon, treated the Service and the WHMO with the respect for their job requirements they fully deserve, and which are necessary to protect and serve a statesman able to, if necessary, nuke North Korea (to use a present crisis) and hated by ISIS, Al Qaida, new John Hinckley’s, and the like. Nixon altered his private summer residence to accommodate them, and did not ask a penny in rent or staying costs, or anything; and that is as it should be.
    Talking to Dutch military and security experts and American expats here in The Hague, I find they are just as scandalized as I am by the insouciant, money-grabbing, lackadaisical manner Trump handled this Trump Tower housing episode, and the crisis when he was at Mar-a-Lago in February, not even retiring with advisors and the Marine with “the football” to a secluded room, but conferring on a hotel terrace in public. Think of Kennedy at the Cuba crisis.

    The Congress he so much derides (scolding war hero McCain; Trump’s a worse draft dodger than Clinton) is more conscious of what security around the US Executive means and needs than the loose canon with the strange hairdo.

  • Bernard Aris 7th Aug '17 - 8:27pm

    For the younger readers: John Hinckley was a psychiatric patient out on the streets, who shot and almost killed president Reagan; he said to show his manlyness to the actress Jody Foster he had a crazy crush on. See: ..
    In all attempts on US presidents in my lifetime: Kennedy, Gerald Ffrd, Reagan, the prompt response via the Secret Service channels was essential to get them in safety or to a hospital in time. They didn’t have to radio to a trailer 50 floors below them, with all the security risks (people listening in) that entails.

  • Bernard Aris 7th Aug '17 - 8:29pm

    FFrd should be: Gerald Ford; see , another crackpot lone wolf from a gang who butchered a villa ful of movie people.

  • Nonconformistradical 8th Aug '17 - 9:26am

    “I think it has everything to do with us on this side of the Atlantic. While the White House is being occupied by an unpredictable maverick, who sidelines his own Security Service, our safety and security over here is at risk.”

    Exactly – and an unpredictable maverick who either has no understanding of the concept of ‘conflict of interest’ or chooses to ignore the concept.

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