The U.S. military is considering renting space in President Donald Trump's building in Manhattan, Trump Tower.
"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," Lt. Col. JB Brindle, a Defense Department spokesman, told CNN. "The space is necessary for the personnel and equipment who will support the POTUS at his residence in the building."
The military needs to have immediate access to a sitting president in times of emergency. And because Trump is expected to spend a great deal of time at Trump Tower, it makes logistical sense to rent a floor in the same building.
The U.S. military made similar arrangements to rent space near former President Barack Obama's private residence in Chicago during his time in office, according to the Chicago Tribune.
But Richard Painter, a former chief White House ethics counsel under former President George W. Bush, said this could be the first time the U.S. military paid rent to a sitting president to help carry out his presidential duties.
"I have never heard of a president charging rent to the DOD or any other part of the government so they can be near him on his travels," said Painter, who is part of a lawsuit accusing Trump of violating the Constitution because he is a part owner of a hotel in Washington, D.C. "He should give them for free a very limited amount of space and they can rent nearby if needed."
According to CNN, the estimated cost to rent a floor at Trump Tower could cost taxpayers approximately $1.5 million per year.