Politics & Government

Trump to campaign for Bevin in Rupp Arena next month. You will help pay for security.

President Donald Trump’s campaign has already paid Rupp Arena a $40,000 rental fee for a Nov. 4 campaign rally to stump for Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, but it will not get a bill from the city for security and crowd control.

Unlike several other cities, Lexington will not attempt to charge Trump or Bevin for time spent by police on the event, said Susan Straub, a spokeswoman for the city.

Lexington Public Safety Commissioner Ken Armstrong said the city has a long-standing policy of not billing for police time for anyone who is under the protection of the U.S. Secret Service, regardless of whether the event is for official business or campaigning.

“We do it for the benefit of the individual visiting and also for the safety of the citizens attending and for the general public,” Armstrong said.

An investigation by the Center for Public Integrity found that the Trump campaign has refused to pay police bills sent by 10 cities, including bills from 2016 sent by Tucson, Arizona, and Spokane, Washington. The Center for Public Integrity found that Trump owes a total of $841, 219.

The Trump campaign’s spotty record of paying for security was thrust into the national conversation earlier this month after the city of Minneapolis required the Target Center, where Trump was hosting a rally, to pay for security for Trump’s visit — a bill of more than $500,000. The Target Center attempted to pass the cost on to the Trump campaign, but backed down after Trump sent several angry tweets directed at the mayor of Minneapolis.

Lexington will not add to the total.

“When other national elected figures who have had secret service protection have come to town including President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Vice President Joe Biden, Vice President Mike Pence, President Barack Obama, President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, we have not charged for security,” Straub said. “There is no law that allows us to do so, or that requires campaigns to reimburse us.”

Straub said several citizens have raised questions about Trump’s visit and the cost.

“Rupp Arena is a public facility,” Straub said. “Lexington Center is required to rent the facility to lawful organizations on open dates.”

Carl Hall, director of operations for Rupp Arena, confirmed Tuesday the Trump campaign had already paid its $40,000 rental fee. The Lexington Herald-Leader obtained a copy of the contract through an Open Records Act request. According to the contract, the campaign could be charged additional fees after the event. The contract is with Donald J. Trump for President Inc.

The Bevin campaign invited Trump as part of its last-minute push in a tight gubernatorial race between Bevin and Democrat Andy Beshear. Bevin has struggled with his popularity over the course of the campaign, but Trump remains popular throughout the state.

The rally also brings Trump to a state that recent polling has shown opposes his impeachment at a time when the president faces mounting questions in Washington D.C.

Trump has appeared in Kentucky before. Last year, he campaigned for Republican U.S. Rep. Andy Barr in Richmond.

Beth Musgrave has covered government and politics for the Herald-Leader for more than a decade. A graduate of Northwestern University, she has worked as a reporter in Kentucky, Indiana, Mississippi, Illinois and Washington D.C.
Daniel Desrochers has been the political reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader since 2016. He previously worked for the Charleston Gazette-Mail in Charleston, West Virginia.
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