But there’s more to consider beyond Trump’s interference with the peaceful transition of power and his imperiling an equal branch of government. There is an actual cost.
The MAGA mob left an abomination in their wake: the loss of at least five lives, many injured bodies and a vandalized and desecrated symbol of American democracy.
In the pursuit of Trump’s stated desire to disrupt the congressional proceeding, the mob attacked police, and ransacked the historic building, damaging furniture and office equipment, battering office doors, ripping out light fixtures, smashing windows and defacing hallways and walls with obscene graffiti.
Restoring the Capitol to its 19th-century grandeur will be costly. As matters stand, Trump is primed to skip town, leaving it to the American taxpayers to bear the cost of cleaning up after his supporters’ dirty work.
And rather than keeping his head down and his big mouth shut — as should someone who has disgraced himself — Trump continued to fly high on the public’s dime Tuesday by treating himself to an Air Force One excursion to a Texas town to see a section of the far-from-finished border wall that he falsely claimed Mexico would pay for.
It costs about $200,000 an hour to operate Air Force One, CNN reported. Four hours from D.C. to Texas? Do the math.
Does anyone think he’s done traveling to Mar-a-Lago? In 2019, the Government Accountability Office estimated that four presidential trips to his Florida club from Feb. 3 through March 5, 2017, incurred costs of about $13.6 million. His latest trip there in December — do the math.
Trump may be through with Washington at high noon on Inauguration Day, but at the rate he’s spending in the final few days, Washington should not be through with him.
The Architect of the Capitol, who maintains and preserves the Capitol complex, including the Supreme Court, ought to keep a record of costs incurred to bring the building and grounds back to pre-riot conditions. With the joint support of House and Senate leaders, the architect should present Trump with a bill for services rendered. The American taxpayer ought not to get stuck with the bill.
There’s the Trump multimillion-dollar Election Defense Fund, which reportedly can be spent on non-election-defense efforts. He should direct some of those bucks to Capitol Hill.
There’s even money coming from Uncle Sam.
If he has any sense of decency, Trump should voluntarily return his annual pension to the U.S. Treasury to compensate taxpayers for the cost of his deadly Capitol catastrophe.
Whether he is impeached and removed, ousted under the 25th Amendment, or he escapes by the skin of his teeth, Trump still has a debt to pay. His failure to defend the Constitution, and his instigation of acts leading to violence, death and destruction, come with heavy costs. Some of these are quantifiable.
One way or another, Trump should pay. Besides, he should be good for it if his pockets are as deep as he pretends them to be.