Former President Donald Trump is scheduled to hold a campaign rally in Memphis, but the city police don't want anything to do with it.
According to Action News 5, Trump's past events that required local security resulted in hefty bills for the Trump campaign. Trump still owes El Paso $570,000 for a 2019 rally. The Republican Party wanted to move the 2020 convention to Jacksonville, Florida, during the pandemic, but that got canceled when security couldn't work with half of the budget cops were promised.
As of July 2020, Trump had over $2 million in unpaid security bills that stacked up from Pennsylvania to New Mexico. The Albuquerque Journal revealed in Oct. 2020, that their city sent Trump an invoice for $211,175.94 for barricades and overtime for officers to be on hand for the event.
Trump also refused to pay the city of Minneapolis after stacking up over $530,000 in security costs for a 2019 rally. The mayor there was furious and fought back at the time by blocking any further use of city-owned properties until the bill was paid. Trump threatened to sue the mayor. After a back and forth, the Target Center gave an in-kind donation of $100,000 for the costs of the 2019 rally. That, however, presents a problem because $100,000 in corporate funds is a violation of campaign finance law. It's unclear if anyone has ever filed that complaint because it likely isn't included on Trump's campaign finance documents as an in-kind contribution.
In Memphis, the police department said that they hadn't been contacted about providing security. Memphis City Councilman Martavius Jones doesn't want Memphis Police to fork over the time, manpower and costs.
"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."
Councilman Jones and Councilman JB Smiley Jr will introduce a resolution to the council next week, that asks the Memphis Police to stay out of the rally.
“He’s no longer the president. He has a Secret Service detail, I think that’s sufficient,” said Smiley.
Trump's campaign spokesperson for the American Freedom Tour went on the attack against the council saying, it is “mean-spirited, partisan, preposterous and penurious.”
“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.”
Public Information Officer Major Karen Rudolph said that if federal partners ask them to help that they would. That would mean that the Secret Service would have to ask for security. It's possible that the MPD officers could 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.