Unsurprisingly, Trump rallies—which preach a platform of hate, xenophobia and white nationalism—draw violence. On average, 2.3 more assaults are reported on days of rallies, per a study from the University of Pennsylvania; similarly, counties that host a rally see a staggering 226% increase in hate crimes according to researchers at the University of North Texas. Conveniently, there’s full radio silence from the far-right on these statistics, compared to the harmless dangers of milkshaking.
Despite this affinity for violence, Trump won’t pay for local police enforcement. According to a new report from The Center for Public Integrity, Trump has dodged invoices from 10 cities requesting the funding for police enforcement during presidential rallies. The requested funding ranges a cavernous gap—from $8,000 to $470,000—and totals nearly $850,000 over the past 3 years.
Paying these invoices should not pose a problem for the Trump campaign, which consistently flaunts how much money it has raised; the most recent report suggests that the campaign has $40.8 million on hand at their disposal.
Beyond strictly questions of violence, Trump rallies cost the cities and their communities immensely. Streets must be closed, businesses shut their doors and individuals are put out. Paying the necessary funds to accommodate this are an imperative for presidential candidates—that’s why the others are actually doing it.
Several members of the local governments of the unpaid cities have made statements on the matter to The Center for Public Integrity. El Paso Mayor Dee Margo sees the debt-dodging as reflective of a larger issue: “People that don’t pay their bills—that’s a character integrity issue.” Spokane City Council member cuts more to the point, wondering “when does Trump ever pay his bills?”
Indeed, it should come as no surprise that Trump hasn’t paid these invoices. But it stands to prove that Trump, who has courted the votes of police officers across the nation, does not actually care about that demographic on a personal level. He views them as strictly a political tool. This recalls how Trump has treated farmers; he promises them benefits and subsidies, only to bail out the largest multinational agricultural company in the world.
Whether or not legal action can be taken against Trump’s bill-stiffing remains unclear. Many officials think that taking legal action would result in even more substantive financial losses; others think that it simply won’t amount to anything. Regardless, you’d think that Trump—who regularly calls police enforcement “heroes”—would be willing to pay those protecting him and his voting base.