This viral post was found at The Resistance with 16,000 shares in less 12 hours. It's from @chapmanchapman who seems to be commenting on Trump cutting the National Endowment for the Arts.

Tweet about Melania

The est. security cost for Melania living 200mi away from Trump is double the annual budget for the National Endowment for the Arts.

  • 7
    If true, that could very well be more of a statement about the lack of support for the arts than the expense of her security. Or both. :D Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 21:46
  • 14
    Rather than comparing to something unrelated like the National Endowment for the Arts, why not compare to the security expenses of past presidents with residences in addition to the White House?
    – GEdgar
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 0:04
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    Because Arts is on the cutting block billboard.com/articles/news/politics/7676344/… Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 0:08
  • 3
    I would suggest changing "Does" to "Is" in the title. This sounds like the former budget is inside the latter.
    – Nacht
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 2:54
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    I wonder how this compares to such costs historically, for example when GWB's daughters went to college while he was president. Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 13:45

2 Answers 2


His sources check out

The only piece that makes this questionably true is because it's not just for Melania, but the entirety of the Trump family.. See below for the NBC citation. @Chapmanchapman claims his sources in this tweet

CNN says

Protecting President-elect Donald Trump and his family is costing New York City more than $1 million a day, according to three city officials.

NYT says

[The National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities] each receive about $148 million a year now.

So according to those two sources, 365 days in a year at a million dollars a day is more than double 148 million.

Other sources

Some sources, such as NBC, estimate the cost to be 2 million a day for the "920 Secret Service" agents protecting the president (total).

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.

NBC goes on to itemize cost of securing Trump Tower NYPD

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.

But, they do add that it's not just for Melania,

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.


To be totally correct we could say,

*The est. security cost for securing the Trump family in New York 200 mi away from Trump in DC is double the annual budget for the National Endowment of the Arts.

  • 27
    Are more secret service agents required in this scenario that normally living at the White House? It would be interesting to compare Obama's security detail versus Trump's in regards to size and cost.
    – Jon Raynor
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 17:42
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    I'm confused which of these costs are for NYC and which are for the federal governement. Why would NYC be paying any extra cash? Wouldn't this security be completely provided by the federal budget?
    – Pace
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 18:27
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    "The Secret Service has not had to protect the adult children of a president-elect in a long time, Wackrow said." Is that because we haven't had a president with adult children in a long time (since Bush Sr, right?) or because they haven't needed/wanted Secret Service protection? Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 18:51
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    So is the "double the endowment for the arts" figure for the cost of Trump + Trump's Family or for Trump's Family excluding Trump himself? Because the way I read the original post is just Melania, then you refined quote seems to say "Melania and family, not including Trump", but the numbers seem to say Trump and Trumps family?
    – DasBeasto
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 19:15
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    It's also worth noting that all of the cited sources are referring to the President-Elect, not the President. They are referring to when the Secret Service was protecting the entire Trump family, including himself, at Trump Tower prior to him taking office. So, no, the sources don't check out unless you can find more sources saying that they're still paying that much to protect Trump Tower when Trump himself is not there.
    – reirab
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 20:58

This claim is currently unproven.

According to a Snopes article written today, which rates this claim as unproven, Chapman cited the CNN article linked below as his source for the security cost and he cited the apparently-correct figure of $148 million as the budget of NEA.

When asked for sources, Chapman cited a New York Times article estimating the NEA's annual funding at around $148 million. (The NEA's website states their 2016 funding as $147,949,000.)

Chapman also cited an estimate first reported by CNN that providing security for the entire Trump family was costing New York City more than $1 million a day

However, the CNN article which he references is citing a figure for protecting all of Trump's family (including his adult children and their families) along with Trump himself while he was the President-Elect and living at Trump Tower, not for the cost of protecting Melania alone (or Melania and Barron alone.) Additionally, later statements from the Mayor of New York City indicate that the cost was actually closer to $500,000 per day, not $1 million per day.

Furthermore, Melania and Barron living in NYC appears to also be a temporary arrangement until the end of Barron's current school year, not a permanent one.

Cost for Security

According to an article published yesterday by New York Daily News:

It cost more than $1 million per day to provide protection for President Trump and his family while he was still living in New York after the election, according to CNN. The city has not announced how expensive protecting just Melania and Barron is.

The cited CNN article is from November 21, 2016, while Trump was the President-Elect and was still himself living in Trump Tower prior to taking office and moving to D.C. It says:

Protecting President-elect Donald Trump and his family is costing New York City more than $1 million a day, according to three city officials.

Additionally, this cost is not just for Trump, Melania, and Barron, but also for Trump's adult children and their families:

Adding to the expense is the cost of police assigned to Trump's adult children and his grandchildren, who are also receiving Secret Service protection, John Miller, NYPD's deputy commissioner of intelligence & counterterrorism, told WCBS Monday. All of them live in the city, and all are entitled to receive Secret Service protection.

On December 7, 2016, Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City was interviewed by a local TV station. During the interview, de Blasio was asked about these costs:

Lehrer: Well, one of the subsequent rounds will be beyond the inauguration. I’ve read a million dollars a day to protect Melania and Barron Trump, who will keep living here, not in the White House, until the end of the school year. Is that an accurate number? A million dollars a day – who pays for that?

Mayor: I think it’s premature to say that. We put forward a figure for the period from the November 8th election to January 20th. That was approximately $35 million.

November 8 to January 20th is 74 days. $35 million / 74 days is about $473,000 per day. Mr. de Blasio also noted that assuming this would apply to the period after Trump takes office is premature.

Snopes is still waiting on getting more up-to-date information:

We have reached out to the city for more information regarding projected security costs for Melania Trump but have yet to hear back.

Cost for National Endowment for the Arts

According to its own website, the FY2016 budget for the National Endowment for the Arts was just under $148 million.


CNN's original figure of "more than $1 million per day" is indeed more than double $148 million per year. However, at the rate used in the more recent estimate in New York's request for compensation from the federal government, the annual cost of security would be about $173 million per year, which is obviously not double the NEA budget of $148 million. Additionally, New York has not yet indicated what it expects the cost of protecting only Melania and Barron to be vs. the cost of protecting Trump himself in addition to Melania and Barron during the transition period.

Finally, according to an article from The Hill that was published yesterday (Feb 2, 2017):

The White House says first lady Melania Trump will move to the White House at the end of the school year

So, it appears that the situation of Melania living separately from President Trump is a temporary one that is currently projected to end some time around May of 2017. So, even if it still did cost nearly $500,000 per day to protect Melania and Barron, this situation is currently planned to only last several months. As a result, even if it did cost that much per day, it wouldn't cost more than the National Endowment for the Arts on an annual basis due to the situation's limited duration.

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    The White House also lies, routinely. From the same article, "they will reevaluate toward the end of the school year if they will keep this arrangement or if Melania and Barron will move to Washington," a family insider told the publication. [...] "They could go either way right now. They will ultimately do what's best for Barron." Seems your betting heavily on the cost not being $1m a day (which I think is against the evidence), and on her moving back to DC which is probably and will likely change matters but by no means definitive or sure in either direction. Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 21:39
  • @EvanCarroll A publication that the update to the article said was contradicted by the White House. At any rate, that part is secondary. The fact that there is no evidence indicating that this much is still being spent by NYC remains true regardless of whether Melania and Barron stay there indefinitely or not.
    – reirab
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 21:41
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    @EvanCarroll Against what evidence? There isn't any evidence regarding how much is currently being spent to protect Trump's family or how much that cost would differ from protecting them in D.C. Or, at least, if there is any, it hasn't been presented here yet and NYDN claims that NYC hasn't released any figures.
    – reirab
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 21:47
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    @EvanCarroll Yes, it's highly unlikely that they have as much protection there now that the President himself is not there. At the very least, my answer is correct that there is no evidence that they are still spending that much. I'm not claiming that the claim is definitely false, just that there doesn't appear to be any evidence to support its truth.
    – reirab
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 21:52
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    @EvanCarroll I'm not making the claim that it doesn't cost as much (though I highly doubt that it does.) I'm saying that there's no evidence that it costs as much to protect just Melania and Barron as it did to protect Trump's entire family including himself while his entire incoming administration was based out of Trump Tower.
    – reirab
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 21:59

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