Rising rent at Trump Tower came amid space expansion

Julie Bykowicz
Associated Press

Washington — Donald Trump’s campaign is taking up more space inside Trump Tower in New York — and paying a lot more in rent.

The Republican presidential nominee’s campaign paid $35,457 per month for rent and utilities to Trump Tower Commercial LLC between last August and this April, Federal Election Commission reports show. The payment began increasing in May and hit $169,758 last month.

The rent hike at the Manhattan skyscraper came as the Trump team expanded from using only the fifth floor to add two additional levels, according to a statement Tuesday from the campaign.

“We calculated the rent based on the average rent per square foot in the area,” the statement says. It also notes that Trump made a $2 million personal donation last month, which more than covers the rent.

The Huffington Post first noted the bigger payments.

The Trump campaign tripled its rented space even though it has maintained only about 70 people on payroll, as well as a few dozen consultants, for the past several months.

“The expansion is in anticipation of more staff,” said Steven Cheung, director of Trump’s rapid response. Cheung himself is a recent hire whose salary wasn’t noted in the July reports.

Trump paid for most of his primary campaign out of his own pocket, and only began soliciting contributions in late May.

Some, including Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine, noted that Trump’s switch to using donor money coincided with the campaign’s increased rental payments.

“Once donors were writing checks to the campaign, Trump said, ‘Wow, I can get more money personally out of this,’” Kaine said at a campaign stop in Denver. He said Trump has a “what-can-the-campaign-do-for-me” ethos.