And when Donald Trump gets sworn in as president on Jan. 20, that contingent will balloon to more than 920 Secret Service agents and support personnel in Washington and his hometown, New York.
The price tag for all that security is already very big, or as the Manhattan mogul might put it, “Yuge,” internal Homeland Security and Secret Service documents reviewed by NBC News show.
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Right now, the cost to taxpayers is more than $2 million a day, the documents show, a number that is sure to increase whenever the president or the first lady travels — or when the threat level rises.
Meanwhile, the New York Police Department is already handling external security at Trump Tower, the president-elect’s Manhattan home base, at an estimated cost of $1 million per day.
“You put a price tag on anything around the president, then you’re putting a price tag on his life, and that is priceless,” Jonathan Wackrow, a former Secret Service agent who has protected every living president, including Barack Obama, told NBC News in an exclusive interview.
Protecting Trump’s family presents unprecedented challenges. First off, it’s a big family — 18 members in all, including Melania Trump and her 10-year-old son, Barron, as well as four adult children, three of them married, with a combined eight grandchildren.
The Secret Service has not had to protect the adult children of a president-elect in a long time, Wackrow said.
Also complicating security arrangements is Melania Trump’s decision to stay in Manhattan until Barron is done with school in June. Donald Trump has told his team that he intends to make regular weekend trips home to Trump Tower until his wife moves into the White House.
So millions of dollars worth of infrastructure will have to be installed in Trump Tower to turn it into a White House North.
“You have to be able to conduct a global war from the front porch — that is just the reality of the situation,” said Terry Sullivan of the White House Transition Project, a nonpartisan organization that helps prepare the staffs of incoming presidents for the rigors of working in the White House.
When Trump heads home to the luxury 58-story high rise on Fifth Avenue, the feds will also need to find accommodations for staffers in a building where a modest one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment rents for $5,250 a month, according to the StreetEasy real estate site.
“They would need at least a whole floor, and every apartment on that floor would need to be turned into an office,” Sullivan said.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is so concerned about the city’s getting stuck with the bill that he’s already been in touch with outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, as well as with the president-elect’s transition team, to ensure that the feds guarantee reimbursement.
“I made clear to [Johnson] how committed we are to the president-elect’s security, but I’ve also made clear to him that there’s extraordinary costs involved and that we want to start the process of understanding what kind of federal reimbursement we can get,” the mayor said recently. “I will be speaking to the president-elect’s team as early as next week on this topic.”
Former Secret Service agent Evy Poumpouras, who was part of the security details that protected Obama and President George W. Bush, said she hopes Trump will reconsider at least his own weekend plans once he becomes president.
“This is one of those situations where they really should have an honest conversation with him and just really explain to him that this is not a good idea,” she told NBC’s Brian Williams. “To physically re-create the security that exists at the White House in New York City, it’s not going to happen.”
She added: “There’s buses going by. There’s trucks going by. When that detonates, that building is not going to withstand that blast.”