Trump's falsehoods about election cost taxpayers $519 mn | Daily News

Trump's falsehoods about election cost taxpayers $519 mn

Former US President Donald Trump
Former US President Donald Trump

US: Former US President Donald Trump's onslaught of falsehoods about the November election misled millions of Americans, undermined faith in the electoral system, sparked a deadly riot - and has now left taxpayers with a large, and growing, bill.

The total so far: $519 million.

The costs have mounted daily as government agencies at all levels have been forced to devote public funds to respond to actions taken by Trump and his supporters, according to a Washington Post review of local, state and federal spending records, as well as interviews with government officials. The expenditures include legal fees prompted by dozens of fruitless lawsuits, enhanced security in response to death threats against poll workers, and costly repairs needed after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. That attack triggered the expensive massing of thousands of National Guard troops on the streets of Washington amid fears of additional extremist violence.

Although more than $480 million of the total is attributable to the military's estimated expenses for the troop deployment through mid-March, the financial impact of the president's refusal to concede the election is probably much higher than what has been documented thus far, and the true costs may never be known. "I think anytime you see an event like we saw on January 6, it changes your perspective going forward. You don't take things for granted like we used to," said Michael Rapich, Superintendent of the Utah Highway Patrol, which spent $227,000 on January 17 to deploy 300 troopers to the State Capitol after threats of an armed siege by Trump supporters ahead of the inauguration of President Biden. "It is an incredible amount of money to spend."

The cost to the federal government continues to grow daily as thousands of National Guard troops patrol Washington and lawmakers consider supplemental spending to bolster their security.

The 25,000 troops that were deployed in Washington traveled on military planes and stayed in local hotels - their presence aimed at restoring order in the nation's capital after an attempted insurrection that overwhelmed the Capitol Police and led to five deaths.

It is not clear whether the House Democrats managing Trump's impeachment trial plan to bring up the financial costs borne by taxpayers as a result of what critics have called his "big lie." The trial begins Tuesday, and Democrats have focused mainly on Trump's speech to supporters shortly before the Capitol riot.

Several states are working to calculate the taxpayer costs for additional security and related expenses in the aftermath of the November election and the January 6 protests.

In California, state officials estimated that they spent about $19 million, deploying 1,000 National Guard troops and hundreds of state troopers from January 14 to January 21 to protect the State Capitol and other locations.

In Ohio, taxpayers spent $1.2 million to deploy National Guard troops to the closed Statehouse building in Columbus. The New Mexico legislature increased its appropriation for Capitol security during the 60-day session by almost 40 percent this month, handing taxpayers a bill of $1.5 million for personnel, equipment and other expenses, officials said.

Taxpayers paid to deploy helicopters to monitor potential demonstrations in Texas and North Carolina, temporary fencing around the capitols in Lansing, Michigan and Olympia, Washington, and extra security details for state lawmakers attending legislative sessions.