Must U.S. Protect Trump Hotels?
His businesses abroad could be terrorist targets. Taxpayers could pay the bill.
President-elect Donald Trump has trophy properties located throughout the world. They are terrorists’ targets.
What is our government’s responsibility for protecting Trump’s private properties?
This is not theoretical. It is a real question that affects our country’s security.
What better way to attack Trump or the United States than by terrorizing one of these trophy properties? If terrorists wish to get to Trump, they know that their easiest path is an economic one.
One of the goals of terrorists is to anger their targets to the point that extraordinary means are used to react to the terrorist acts. Then the target’s reaction results in recruitment and favorable publicity.
To find most of Trump’s holdings, however, you or I or the terrorists can just go to Trump’s own website. You will see hotels in Panama City, Panama; New York City, Toronto, Waikiki, Miami, Las Vegas, Ireland and Chicago.
There are 17 golf courses including those in Dubai and Scotland as well as real estate in Istanbul, Seoul, India, Uruguay, Toronto, Panama City and Vancouver, Canada. Indonesia and Istanbul have been targets of terrorism and attacks in many of these locations have occurred.
I won’t list the many other holdings held by Trump in the U.S. and abroad, but suffice it to say that many would be easy and tempting targets for extremist groups.
We have never had a president whose wealth included global holdings that could be so well identified. Even if Mitt Romney had won the last election, his investments would have paled compared Trump’s.
What groups might target Trump? Enemies of Vladimir Putin, for one, or extreme right-wing American groups who are disappointed in what Trump promised, or Isis and other Middle East groups.
Does the U.S. government have responsibility for Trump’s private properties? Should the government protect these properties?
It is a question that Trump will find difficult to answer. He currently uses private body guards and the Secret Service, so he wants it both ways.
Bob Chernow served in the U.S. Special Forces, where he graduated from the Phoenix program, was trained as a Tactical Intelligence Officer and was awarded the Bronze Star & Air Medal for Valor. He has written and given talks on how to combat terrorism.
This op ed was originally published by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.