Home / awful Americans / Is this what they mean by rent seeking behavior?

Is this what they mean by rent seeking behavior?


Or perhaps it is a pay-to-protect-me racket.

Either way, the Secret Service being required to leave a space owned by the president they are there to protect is yet another episode in this too implausible for fiction – even Clive Cussler’s – presidency.

The Secret Service has vacated its command post inside Trump Tower in Manhattan following a dispute between the government and President Trump’s company over the terms of a lease for the space, according to two people familiar with the discussions.

Previously, the Secret Service had stationed its command post — which houses supervisors and backup agents on standby in case of an emergency — in a Trump Tower unit one floor below the president’s apartment.

But in early July, the post was relocated to a trailer on the sidewalk, more than 50 floors below, a distance that some security experts worry could hamper the agency that protects the president’s home and family.

It’s amazing what unchained capitalism and white supremacy – do I repeat myself? – can accomplish when they work together.

“After much consideration, it was mutually determined that it would be more cost effective and logistically practical for the Secret Service to lease space elsewhere,” spokeswoman Amanda Miller wrote in an email to The Washington Post.

The details of the dispute between the Trump Organization and the Secret Service were not clear Thursday. Two people familiar with the discussions said the sticking points included the price and other conditions of the lease.

I do wonder if the Secret Service attempted to explain the situation to the Orange Blob itself.

If so, I wonder how much he sputtered about his business acumen and his YUGE Electoral College win – You see this map, look at this map. Winning like this was very hard. Much harder than with votes. And they were fake votes – look, this space costs me a lot of money. A lot of money. I mean, major, major amounts of money. I let you stay in that space for less money, I don’t look so great. I can’t not look great, that makes me look bad. Listen, I came to D.C. to drain the swamp. I’m a business man, you’re the government. I’m just the president not the government. You’re the government. People elected me electorally – look at this map … – before the Secret Service gave up.

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  • Joe Paulson

    “The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.”

    The Foreign Emoluments Clause is getting the most attention, but there is this restriction too, and Congress doesn’t even have the power to waive it as in the other one.

    • randykhan

      I may be wrong about this, but my recollection is that sitting Presidents generally don’t try to get rent from the Secret Service for using the Presidents’ property. I don’t think this clause is why; it’s just what a normal person who cared even slightly about appearances would do.

      • Joe Paulson

        They don’t tend to be real estate magnates, so that’s part of it.

        • medrawt

          Right. Whatever protections or accommodations the Secret Service established around the Obama home near the UofC campus, they weren’t renting out a separate space from Obama, because he doesn’t own one.

  • I, for one, have absolutely no problem with the Secret Service being located 50 floors away from Trump if something goes down.

    • NonyNony

      Meh – the LAST thing I want to see happen is Trump becoming a martyr. Even by accident.

      The man could die choking on a pretzel and it would probably start riots. I really want him to end his time in office in disgrace, not with funereal hagiographies.

      • ToddTheVP

        What if it was something non-lethal like a bowel disruptor?

        • Drew

          I wouldn’t be surprised to see him stroke out in the middle of one of his tirades at a rally.

          • He waves his little paws around too much to do – Oh never mind, I misread your comment.

            • N__B

              Wanna start a pool on who would clean up that mess and how they would do so?

        • I wish him chronic simultaneous hemorrhoids and kidney stones with a side of explosive diarrhea

          • N__B

            Because I’m cruel, I wish for him something that will not happen but would be more devastating than any infirmity you can think of: true self-knowledge.

            • weirdnoise

              If there is a hell, this would be it.

        • The Lorax

          I’m not wearing my glasses and first read this as “neo-liberal.”

      • Especially since pretzel choking would undoubtedly be Hillary’s fault.

      • YNWA40515

        “Even by accident.”

        Or even natural causes. It’s no secret that a great many people the world over do not particularly care for the current occupant. Combine that with the fact that a depressingly large number of RWNJs will tell you with a straight face that, e.g., Hillary Clinton has personally murdered large numbers of people, and you’ve got what will no doubt become decades of conspiracies involving crackpots sincerely arguing that the stroke/heart attack/bowel obstruction that eventually did for Il Douche was actually some hard-to-detect poison administered by some sneaky libtard.

    • Cheap Wino

      “Take this pistol. Can’t remember if it’s loaded or not.”

  • wjts

    At what point does the Secret Service get to say, “Take this pistol. There. We have now provided you with what we deem adequate protection per the requirements and responsibilities of our agency. We are going home now.”?

    • Nubby

      I’m okay with that as long as the pistol has been demilled.

      • wjts

        “You get the gun for the President?”


        “What is it?”

        “An old M1917 revolver I found in a closet at the National Guard armory.”

        “Jesus. Did you clean it?”

        “Nope. Didn’t have time.”

        “But you loaded it?”

        “Sure did.”

        “Good enough. What do you want for lunch?”

        “Bahn mi?”

        “Sounds good. Did you hear that?”

        “The explosion? Nope.”

      • Bugboy

        Leave Cecil B Demille out of this. The last thing we need is a guy who made biblical epics involved in this circus…

    • so-in-so

      Remember during the campaign Dump proposed that they should withdraw SOS protection from HRC and “see what happens”? More projection…?
      Especially if Vlad doesn’t think he got his money’s worth from helping elect Dump.

  • s_noe

    The Post article also notes that the military has leased separate office space in Trump Tower (for a command center) at above-market price. In that case, though, the landlord isn’t the Trump Org, but some dude who owns the office space.

    “In that case, however, the unit was not leased directly from Trump — but rather from Joel Anderson, a businessman who owns the space. In an interview Thursday, Anderson said that the government didn’t really try to negotiate a lower price.

    “It was a standard lease negotiation, like any other, and had all of the same parts. The only thing that made it difficult it is they’re bureaucratic, and it takes them forever to do anything,” Anderson said. “They’re not bad to deal with, they’re just slow.”

    The lease agreement in that case — which runs to 149 pages — illustrates the extra conditions that may come from leasing space to the government. Its provisions ask that the owner of the space follow energy-efficiency guidelines, submit reports on its compliance with fair-hiring practices, and post signs with a hotline for reporting contract fraud.


  • How many Secret Service agents does it take to guard an empty apartment?

    • Deborah Bender

      That point was made IIRC by Joy Reid filling in for Rachael Maddow. Trump’s immediate family are now living in the WH and when Trump isn’t there, he is visiting one of his golf resorts.

    • N__B

      Do any light bulbs need changing?

  • so-in-so

    That poster is a graphics fail. The first thing the image at the top brought to mind was NOT a goatee…

    • woodrowfan

      you have a dirty mind. I like that.

  • humanoidpanda

    Ok so this is totally irrelevant to the topic at hand, but I really want to share it with the crowd: here is me, under my real name, with a post at the Washington Post, trying to figure out what the Russian thing is all about. Self promotion is good!

    • here is me, under my real name,

      Does you really has enough, or is you fakin’?

      • N__B

        Is you is or is you ain’t my panda?

    • wjts

      Interesting read, and congratulations.

    • Nice! Well done. Very interesting.

    • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

      Mazel tov! Look forward to reading it. You always have great things to say .

    • Sadly I used up my free articles. Sure it was good.

      • Drew

        I use incognito mode on Chrome.

      • Just_Dropping_By

        By the fourth day of the month? You’ve got to learn to pace yourself.

      • Pat

        I have one browser for cookies and one browser I clear every couple of days. It’s not like downloading browsers isn’t free.

        And congrats, panda! Superb writing and analysis!

      • D_J_H

        If you have a .gov, .mil, or .edu email address, you can get a free subscription. Sorry if it doesn’t apply to you and/or you already knew, but I figured there’s a chance it could help you (or others), because the Post doesn’t seem to advertise that very well.

    • Thom

      You seem to have two real names.

    • epidemiologist

      Thanks for sharing this! It was a really interesting read.

      You discuss the accurate perception of Russian leadership that a Trump administration would be destabilizing. Yet in reading your article I was struck by how many features of Russian intelligence culture apparently mirror the most dangerous and destabilizing features of Trump himself, his administration, and his supporters: conspiracy-mindedness, nationalism, and lack of (particularly foreign policy) professionalism or expertise.

      In your opinion, is this irony apparent at all to those who support this strategy? Or did the intention to advance Trump rest on other things, such as specific Republican foreign policy positions, generalized Trump incompetence, the very public revelation of a compromised election…?

      • John F

        “Yet in reading your article I was struck by how many features of Russian intelligence culture ” Think of some of the real nutcases in OUR Intelligence community, especially during the cold war- the Ruskies had their own versions of those guys- who A: Really Really Really resent “losing” the Cold War and B: have real power now.

        • humanoidpanda

          There was a great story in the Atlantic the other day about a Trumper at the NSC who wrote a memo about the globalist-communist-islamist plot to bring down Trump and how this axis is a national security threat. McMaster fired his ass. But if the NSC was headed by Flynn…

      • humanoidpanda

        I think that if someone in a position of power could grasp the irony, they wouldn’t have done what they done… You gotta keep in mind : for these guys you are the foo”, and they are the hard realists who know where power is and how to disrupt it.

        • epidemiologist

          That makes sense. I suppose I am also wondering, do they recognize their ideological or stylistic affinities at all? But maybe if they did, the irony would be obvious.

  • John F

    Off topic, but I made the mistake of looking at GG’s twitter feed.

    The stuff he’s favorably retweeting is getting really creepy…. He’s more anti-anti Trump than anything else right now, guessing he’s gonna take the plunge and admit supporting Trump in another 6 month or so.

    • kaydenpat

      Isn’t it obvious that he has always supported Trump? Quite some time ago, GG decided that President Obama and other Democrats were the bad guys. Since then he’s made it clear that any evidence of Russia’s interference with our elections is fake news. Dying to read his whining and rants when Trump is finally brought down by Mueller. Unfortunately for GG, Trump is a disaster and every day it becomes more obvious that Trump has a softness for Russia which is inexplicable and telling.

      • pluky

        I’m sure by the time Mueller is done the “softness” will be quite explicable.

  • Michael

    Typo: I think you mean “lease” a space not “leave” a space. But both work grammatically so it’s very confusing.

  • Jon Hendry

    I wouldn’t be surprised if part of the motivation for Trump here was to get rid of some possible witnesses to wrongdoing.

  • John F

    Also off Topic, but the comment thread on a Borowitz Report Article: “Trump Says Mueller Just Called Him and Said He’s the Most Innocent Person Ever” is hysterical, huge numbers if readers (both or and anti Trump) are just not getting that it’s parody- there should be a Trump corollary to Poe’s law.

    • kaydenpat

      Perhaps Borowitz should put a “/s” in his title so everyone gets the joke since the title isn’t enough of a hint.

      • randykhan

        I imagine that most of those people wouldn’t notice the /s or know what it means.

  • kaydenpat

    Why is the Secret Service persecuting Trump now just because they have to pay for the honor and blessing of working from his personal property? Witch hunt!! Fake news!! Benghazi!!!!!!!

    What a scam the Trump regime is perpetuating on the American people. I can’t imagine a Democratic President even trying this nonsense.

  • CP

    The people he expects to catch a bullet for him, and he sticks them in a trailer on the street. Christ, what an asshole.

    • SatanicPanic

      Seriously, this guy is so rich but he’s trying to nickel and dime the people who protect him?

      • osceola

        “so rich”??? REAL billionaires don’t pull cheap shit like this.

      • Tehanu

        He’s not as rich as he claims; that’s the whole point of not releasing his taxes. As for nickel-and-diming, John D. Rockefeller never tipped anyone more than a dime in his life and I’d bet that’s the only thing Dump ever heard about him. Heck, ol’ John D. was a paragon of generosity compared to Dump, who after all has spent most of his life in business stiffing his contractors, his employees, and his investors.

  • Thom

    Has DJT even been to his “home” since he became prez?

    • so-in-so

      Mar-a-Lago, sure. Who goes to NYC in the summer? Can’t play golf there, just wifey #3 (who probably prefers he isn’t around) and the kid he barely tolerates..

  • woodrowfan

    “It’s amazing what unchained capitalism and white supremacy – do I repeat myself?”

    China is on line 1 for you. ;)

  • Isn’t Melania’s boyfriend already in charge of security at Trump Tower? The SS is redundant.

    • ColBatGuano

      Don’t say SS. It’s too close to home.

  • The salient point here is yet again: so petty and penny-ante. Would actual rich people — Bill Gates, Mark Bezos, Warren Buffet — touch a lame-ass scheme like this?

    Jesus, man, you make car salesmen look dignified.

    • Rich people often are penny pinching assholes.

      • SatanicPanic

        At some point though, if your brand is “I’m super rich, everything I do is baller X 1000” it starts to hurt sales if you’re being stingy like this. I doubt you’d ever catch Jay Z using coupons.

        • You would be surprised. You really would.

          • SatanicPanic

            Oh I’m not saying none of them are this way, but if your brand is based on being a big spender it seems like a good idea not to be publicly cheap.

            • I agree *AND YET* the sort of rich person who brags about being such a big spender often is the one who stiffs the most.

              The bragging is often compensation. Trump is exhibit A.

              • SatanicPanic

                Sure, and at this point I don’t think he’s doing a great job of brand management either!

      • True enough! But still, this reminds me of Trump steaks more than garden-variety penny pinching: “here’s another angle from which I can squeeze another few bucks..!”

      • Hogan

        Can’t find it now, but there’s an old commercial for some crappy brand of wine with someone asking a rich dude “Why does a rich man drink [insert brand here]?” He replies, “How do you think I got so rich?”

        • N__B

          By squeezing poor people until he got (a) all their cash and (b) their vital organs, which he had pressed into poor-person wine.

          Was this a trick question or something?

          • firefall

            Yes. Report to Vat C

        • It’s certainly the case that even if you are rich you can spend yourself into horrible holes, cf the lottery paradox and many celebrities. But it’s rarely for “normal” things.

      • Jean-Michel

        This is true, but Trump is an outlier even within that group. Spy Magazine once did a feature where they mailed progressively smaller checks to 58 fantastically wealthy people; only Trump and one other person (Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi) cashed the final check for 13 cents.

    • malraux

      Its more that at some point the ROI of time to be a cheapskate starts to diminish. It just takes too much time to fight with the SS about their rent. Or to file for that $200 homeowner credit in NYC. Or lots of things. But at some level, the reward isn’t the money but “winning”.

  • Hypersphrericalcow

    > I’m a business man, you’re the government. I’m just the president not the government. You’re the government

    No government. No government. You’re the government!

  • What an awesome person: Shaking down the Secret Service because he’s that much of a pig.

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