Former President Donald Trump is set to host a campaign rally in Memphis, but the Memphis Police Department is against it.
Trump’s previous rallies that necessitated local security have cost the Trump campaign a lot of money. Trump owes El Paso $570,000 for a rally in 2019. During the epidemic, the Republican Party intended to shift its 2020 convention to Jacksonville, Florida, but security couldn’t work with half of the budget cops provided.
Trump owed approximately $2 million in unpaid security bills from Pennsylvania to New Mexico as of July 2020. The Albuquerque Journal reported in October 2020 that the city of Albuquerque had given Trump an invoice for $211,175.94 for barricades and overtime for officers who would be present at the event.
After racking up over $530,000 in security fees for a 2019 rally, Trump also failed to pay the city of Minneapolis. The mayor was enraged and responded by prohibiting any further use of city-owned properties until the bill was paid. Trump has vowed to file a lawsuit against the mayor. After some back-and-forth, the Target Center agreed to provide $100,000 in kind to cover the costs of the 2019 event. However, this poses an issue because using $100,000 in business cash in a political campaign is illegal. It’s unknown if anyone has ever made that complaint because it’s unlikely to be shown as an in-kind contribution on Trump’s campaign finance filings.
The police department in Memphis stated that they had not been contacted about providing protection. Martavius Jones, a member of the Memphis City Council, does not want Memphis Police to spend the time, manpower, or money.
“He’s notorious for not paying,” said Jones, “When you talk about these rallies, there are huge expenses that various jurisdictions have to pay, and these expenditures are not being reimbursed by the Trump campaign or Trump organization.”
Next week, Councilman Jones and Councilman JB Smiley Jr will present a resolution to the council asking the Memphis Police Department to keep out of the rally.
“He’s no longer the president. He has a Secret Service detail, I think that’s sufficient,” said Smiley.
The council is “mean-spirited, partisan, absurd, and penurious,” according to Trump’s campaign spokesperson for the American Freedom Tour.
“Perhaps,” said Ward, “the Memphis City Council should consult with the good members of the Memphis Police Department about withholding security for President Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the United States. I am not sure they would agree with the proposal, as protecting presidents is and has always been an unambiguous national security priority.”
Major Karen Rudolph, the Public Information Officer, stated that they would assist federal partners if asked. That would necessitate the Secret Service requesting security. The MPD officers may be able to work for free and bring their own equipment.
“When asked if the American Freedom Tour paid in advance or had outstanding bills, Landers Center Executive Director Todd Mastry replied, ‘The American Freedom Tour is in compliance with the contract,’” said the report.