It’s a minor thing compared to the egregious offensiveness of his entire campaign, but Donald Trump has once again proved to be a deadbeat. He has failed to pay an $8,500 bill issued by the City of Burlington for police and fire overtime costs related to Trump’s January rally in the Flynn Center.
You remember, the one where his campaign issued thousands and thousands of extra tickets, thus ensuring a law-enforcement quagmire and setting the stage for potential violent confrontation?
Well, he hasn’t paid up, and the city has decided “it would not be cost effective” to pursue the matter.
[Mayor Miro Weinberger] reiterated that Trump’s “failure to cooperate” with local law enforcement and lack of communication with the public and ticketholders put “undue strain on the City’s police and “unnecessarily hurt downtown businesses.”
Paying the invoice, Weinberger said, “remains the right and honorable thing for Mr. Trump to do.”
Well, sure, but there’s no point in waiting for Donald Trump to do “the right and honorable thing.” He has a long record of doing otherwise.
Perhaps we could ask the VTGOP to intervene. He is, after all, the standard-bearer for their party. Surely they’d like to see him stay in the good graces of the people of Burlington, who are having to foot the bill for his Queen City ego trip.
What about it, David Sunderland? Don Turner? Phil Scott? Could you put in a good word for Burlington? Or, if Trump continues not to do “the right and honorable thing,” you could dip into your own warchest and put up the money. Because whether you like Donald Trump or not, he’s your guy, and the Flynn Center event did inject some badly-needed energy into the depleted ranks of your party.
Otherwise, if Trump ever shows his face in Burlington again, maybe the cops can slap a Denver Boot on his limo.
Just a question, since I don’t know the answer. Are politicians required to pay for police and fire overtime when they have events in Burlington? Or is this covered by what Burlington citizens pay taxes for? I don’t know the answer, since I am not a politician and have never held a campaign rally, so I hope you will let me and your readers know. Thanks.
The city has determined that it’s not a legally enforceable debt. But since the Trump people made such a deliberate hash of the arrangements — i.e. distributing 20,000 tickets for a venue seating 1,500 — Mayor Weinberger thought it was a matter of fairness for the Trump folks to kick in. Other jurisdictions have done the same.
So yeah, Trump is within his legal rights to refuse payment. It’s just one more scummy thing on his badly stained resume.
It seems this is a bipartisan practice, though. VTDigger reported in February that the city of Burlington had also billed President Barack Obama for costs incurred for an April 2012 fundraising visit, which was not paid; likewise WCAX reported the city of South Burlington billed for a June 2011 fundraising visit by First Lady Michelle Obama, which was not paid. Other news outlets have similar stories.
I’m not sure it reflects badly on either Trump or the Obamas. Clearly there was some economic activity generated in the city from these high-profile events. If it does reflect badly on one, I would think it reflects badly on the others as well.
There is one significant difference. The law-enforcement challenges surrounding the Trump event were largely due to Trump’s negligence in distributing 20,000 tickets to a venue seating 1500. That ensured long lines and created the potential for serious trouble outside the Flynn Center. The Trump campaign also refused Burlington’s offers of assistance or advice in planning the event, which didn’t help.
There is a broader conversation to be had about politicians’ responsibility to the communities they parachute into. Should they pay a deposit? Should they be required to coordinate with local authorities on crowd control? Or should communities just suck it up and bear the burden for political speech that happens to take place in their jurisdictions?
A war chest? What war chest? Are you serious?
Trump has a war chest, and so does Hillary, but making politicians pay for law enforcement, fire, etc. overtime at public campaign events would hurt those running for office who do not have as much financial resources. If the city bears the cost, doesn’t that make it more of a level playing field?
I wouldn’t have a problem with that as long as the candidate makes an effort to coordinate with the authorities and try to prevent problems.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Donald Trump (HBO)