Spokesman: Pentagon open to leasing space in Trump Tower

Spokesman: Pentagon open to leasing space in Trump Tower
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The Department of Defense (DOD) is interested in leasing space at Trump Tower in New York City, according to a Pentagon spokesman.

Lt. Col. J.B. Brindle said the agency is considering a “limited” amount of territory at the building where President TrumpDonald John TrumpSasse: Trump shouldn't dignify Putin with Helsinki summit Top LGBT group projects message onto Presidential Palace in Helsinki ahead of Trump-Putin summit Hillary Clinton to Trump ahead of Putin summit: 'Do you know which team you play for?' MORE stays when outside the White House.

“The space is necessary for the personnel and equipment who will support the [president] at his residence in the building,” he told NBC News Wednesday.

Brindle said the DOD would work through “appropriate channels and in accordance with all applicable legal requirements” during the leasing process.

The Fifth Avenue tower near Central Park already has heavy Secret Service coverage, particularly since first lady Melania Trump and their young son Barron are still living there

Trump is also entitled to security from the White House Military Office that oversees his travel plans as commander in chief.

NBC reported that average rental costs for available commercial space in Trump Tower exceed more than $1 million a year.

The president’s family owns the building through its Trump Organization, and the administration will likely face questions if the Pentagon pays to rent space in the tower.

The stretch of Fifth Avenue has been shut down to vehicle traffic since Trump’s election in November. The street is also a frequent staging area for protests against the president and his policies.

The New York Times reported last week Trump remains closely tied to his business dealings despite placing the holdings in a trust to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest.

Trump still gets reports on profits and losses, the report said, and can revoke the authority of the two men named as trustees, Donald Trump Jr. and Chief Financial Officer Allen H. Weisselberg, at any time.

Trump said in a press conference before his Jan. 20 inauguration he would hand his business holdings over to his two oldest sons, Donald Jr. and Eric.