A year after then-presidential candidate Donald Trump’s rally in Lynden, Whatcom County is still waiting for a $53,000 check.
The County Council asked the Trump campaign in September to reimburse the county for security costs, but, having not heard back since, it doesn’t plan to keep pursuing the money, council staff said.
We asked. He’s either at some point going to do it or not, I don’t know.
Barbara Brenner, Whatcom County Council
Trump’s rally on a sunny Saturday, May 7, 2016, drew thousands of supporters and hundreds of protesters, filling the Northwest Washington Fairgrounds to capacity. Supporters who couldn’t get in stood outside the venue, carrying on verbal skirmishes with opponents on the opposite curb.
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Trump secured enough delegates to guarantee the Republican nomination just weeks later.
Law enforcement from as far away as King County helped with event security, racking up nearly $307,000 in expenses, according to tally by Whatcom County and The Bellingham Herald. Locally, the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office bore the brunt of the expense at about $52,000.
The Bellingham Police Department reported the second-highest expense at about $39,000, but declined to request a reimbursement. Because the police department was assisting the county in accordance with a mutual-aid agreement, officials decided to let the county make the request, Bellingham Police Chief Clifford Cook said in an email.
The County Council voted unanimously on Sept. 27 to send a letter to Trump’s campaign and its state and local affiliates requesting a reimbursement for “no less than $53,000.” Since then, they’ve never heard back, said Jennifer Schneider, the council’s confidential clerk. The council doesn’t have plans to pursue the reimbursement any further, Schneider said.
Council member Barbara Brenner, who proposed the resolution to request the reimbursement with Council member Todd Donovan, said she decided it was worth asking because the campaign had reimbursed costs for other rallies. A Bloomberg report from June 2016 says many cities that hosted Trump made similar requests, but at the time only one of them – La Crosse, Wisconsin – had seen a check.
Without a response, Brenner said, there’s not much else the council can do.
“We asked,” she added. “He’s either at some point going to do it or not, I don’t know.”
Brenner said Trump’s representatives could still respond to the request.