The U.S. Military is looking into renting space in Trump Tower in an effort to maintain close proximity to President Donald Trump when he is working in New York, according to a report from CNN.
“In order to meet official mission requirements, the Department of Defense is working through appropriate channels and in accordance with all applicable legal requirements in order to acquire a limited amount of leased space in Trump Tower,” Defense Department spokesman Lt. Col. JB Brindle told the network.
The Pentagon considers the proximity of military personnel to the commander-in-chief a pre-requisite for conducting its business, due to the occasional need for urgent response on matters of national security. The proximity of military personnel to the president is also to provide assistance to the president in day-to-day operations.
Trump spends significant amounts of time in Trump Tower in central Manhattan, which remains the headquarters of the Trump Organization. The tower also houses the Penthouse Condominium, Trump’s main New York residence, and served as the headquarters of both Trump’s presidential campaign and his transition effort.
According to Jared Horowitz, who manages the availability of commercial space at the tower, the average rental cost of one floor in the tower is $1.5 million a year, comprising of office space of up to 15,500 square feet.
Given the high commercial value of the property, the move is likely to draw criticism over Trump potentially benefitting financially from his position in public office. However, the military put similar protocol in place for President Barack Obama’s home in Chicago, where defense officials moved nearby to ensure all military protocol.
Former vice-president Joe Biden also collected rent from the Secret Service, collecting $2,200 a month to secure his cottage in Wilmington, Delaware.
In November, reports surfaced that the Secret Service were also considering renting a floor in the building, although that proposal has yet to be realized.