Fargo Mayor Caves to the Petty Politics of Campaign Season, Will Ask for Reimbursements for Trump Event


President Donald Trump waves at the end of the Make America Great Again Rally on Wednesday, June 27, 2018, at Scheels Arena, Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

When President Donald Trump visited Fargo earlier this year the mayor of that city, Tim Mahoney, asked for an accounting of the security and planning costs of that visit, but said he wasn’t after reimbursement.

I praised the mayor at the time. It’s always important for the taxpayers to understand the cost of government. Transparency is a good thing. And, heck, when the reported figures about the cost of security for the Trump rally were inflated, the mayor pointed that out.

The figure for security included sunk costs like salaries for the law enforcement officers on duty. Expenses we taxpayers would have paid whether Trump had visited Fargo or not.

Unfortunately, since we’re in the campaign silly season, Mahoney was subjected to some vitriol from his fellow liberals. Not very influential talk radio host Mike McFeely wrote a column lambasting Mahoney for not being sufficiently partisan in his approach to the issue.

So now that Trump is visiting again, suddenly Mahoney says he’s going to ask for reimbursement:

On Wednesday, Sept. 5, Mahoney said he had contacted Rick Berg, chairman of the North Dakota Republican Party, about the issue. Mahoney said he was told any such payments would come from the national-level Republican Party.

“They’re going to consider that,” Mahoney said, though he had not heard back from the party as of Wednesday afternoon.

It’s probably going to be a trivial amount of money, despite all the Sturm und Drang we’re getting from the Democrats and Heitkamp campaign surrogates about it, and I’m assuming the Republicans will probably just pay it.

It’s probably not the hill they want to die on.

That said, why should they pay it? The bulk of the expense of security for the President is paid by the federal taxpayers. I don’t understand why local taxpayers shouldn’t pay too when local security is needed as well.

Yes, this is a campaign event, but so what? The President is the President all the time, even when he’s on the campaign stump, and as such he always needs security.

I wish it wasn’t that way. I wish serving in our nation’s top elected offices wasn’t so dangerous. But reality is what it is, and playing political games with the cost of security is ridiculous.

You can bet, if we were talking about (deeply unlikely) change that a Democratic figure might visit the state to stump, the Democrats and their media allies would be singing a different tune.