Ivanka Trump’s neighbors delivered a handwritten note welcoming her to their gilded Northwest Washington Zip code after she and her husband, Jared Kushner, moved from New York with their three small children.
When the president’s daughter did not respond, Rhona Friedman, an attorney who lives next door, understood.
Ivanka was busy settling in, she figured.
But Friedman and other neighbors were far less patient when two “No Parking” signs appeared outside the TrumpKushner house and Secret Service SUVs began swallowing spots on Tracy Place NW, their block in the Kalorama neighborhood.
Their exasperation peaked Monday when city workers installed two additional “No Parking” signs — not in front of Trump’s house, but outside Friedman’s residence next door.
“I started screaming,” Friedman said.
Then she began writing emails.
On Friday, after discussions between the Secret Service and aides to Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D), city workers removed the signs outside Friedman’s house, liberating that portion of the block for any mere mortal seeking a spot for their car.
Score one for the resistance.
With their long history of hosting Washington dignitaries, Kalorama residents were largely unfazed when they learned that the Trump-Kushner clan, as well as former president Barack Obama and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, were moving to the neighborhood after President Trump’s election.
The neighbors are willing to put up with the Secret Service blockade on both ends of Belmont Road NW, the nearby street where Obama lives. He’s a former president, after all. And they appreciate that the State Department’s security detail placed a few relatively unobtrusive orange cones outside Tillerson’s house on 24th Street NW.
But the security surrounding the six-bedroom house that Trump and Kushner rent?
“Are you kidding me?” asked Marti Robinson, a trial attorney who lives across the street. “This is the adult child of the president. Sometimes there are 10 cars out here.”
Metal barricades along Tracy Place and Kalorama Road now make it impossible for pedestrians to use the sidewalk bordering the house. Neighbors talk of clusters of Secret Service agents lingering on the pavement, conversing in loud voices and even changing their shirts in public view.
“They’ve completely taken over the whole street — as if they have the authority!” said Robinson, an Obama appointee to the U.S. Product Safety Commission. In her own email to the mayor, Robinson wrote that the Secret Service encampment “has truly ruined my peaceful enjoyment of my house.”
“It is every bit as disruptive as if a very active business was allowed to come into this residential neighborhood,” she wrote.
This being Washington, it’s no surprise that a former congressman lives in the neighborhood and that he frames the conflict in purely ideological terms.
“We’re just a little story in a cosmic, bigger story, which is the whole Trump phenomenon and how they push their way around,” said Toby Moffett, a Democrat who represented Connecticut in the House. “You have people coming and going. You have three or four, sometimes five, SUVs that are very big and that aren’t from the neighborhood.”
Friedman has a garage for her own car. But she said parking can be challenging for people who visit.
“If you happen to miss that moment before the spaces get filled, you’re dead,” she said. “We were a nice, quiet residential community and we’ve become a neighborhood where people take pictures.”
Hope Hicks, a White House spokeswoman, referred questions to the Secret Service. A spokesman for the agency, in an email, wrote that the Secret Service “makes every effort to collaborate with businesses and residents to minimize disruptions, while simultaneously maintaining the highest level of security for the individuals we are mandated to protect.”
Kevin Harris, a spokesman for Bowser, said city workers installed the “No Parking” signs at the request of the Secret Service, prompting immediate complaints from five neighbors.
David Bender, chair of the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission, said he has received frustrated emails from a dozen residents.
Even before Obama, Trump and Kushner moved to Kalorama, parking was a challenge. A nearby mosque draws large gatherings of worshipers, many of whom park their cars on neighborhood streets.
“All this stuff that had been building up sort of boiled over,” Harris said.
Harris said the neighbors’ complaints prompted mayoral aides to negotiate a deal with the Secret Service to remove two of the four “No Parking” signs Friday.
In January, after Trump and Kushner moved into the house, Friedman and her husband wrote a note to the couple on engraved stationery. “It said, ‘Welcome to Kalorama, we know you’re going to love it — we have,’ ” Friedman recalled, adding that she threw in a line that her two dogs love children.
A few weeks ago, Friedman’s husband, Don, was walking their dogs when he spotted Ivanka out for a stroll with one of her children.
“Hi, I’m Don, I live next door,” he said.
“Hi, I’m Ivanka,” she responded with a wave.
It was raining, so there was no chance to linger.
There have been occasional sightings of Trump and Kushner, including last Sunday at a local playground with their children. For the most part, though, neighbors say they rarely see the couple.
“When Ivanka moved in, we were all excited to shine a spotlight on our pretty neighborhood,” said Kay Kendall, who lives on Tracy Place with her husband, AOL International founder Jack Davies.
Kendall, chair of the District’s Commission on the Arts and Humanities, even envisioned throwing them a welcoming party.
“I felt friendly, there was a friendliness,” she said. “I think those signs were not friendly. What can I say?