More than 200,000 people have signed an online petition calling for U.S. first lady Melania Trump to leave New York City and move into the White House or pay the cost of protecting her in the Trump Tower.
The Change.org petition was started after a senior White House aide indicated the president’s wife and son, Barron, will remain in New York until the school year ends.
"The U.S. taxpayer is paying an exorbitant amount of money to protect the First Lady in Trump Tower, located in New York City," the petition says. "As to help relieve the national debt, this expense yields no positive results for the nation and should be cut from being funded."
The New York Police Department estimated it costs between $127,000 and $146,000 per day to protect Melania Trump and her son.
Comments beneath the Change.org petition highlighted the signers’ dissatisfaction over the first family’s use of taxpayer funds.
“Living in the White House is what you do when you are married to the president,” one commenter identified as Sheila Forsyth of Newport, Rhode Island, wrote. “The tax money saved by eliminating these extra protection expenses can be used to feed senior citizens. Why is our tax money being spent on people who already have more than their fair share?”
Local authorities in Florida have voiced similar frustration at the costs of protecting the president during his frequent visits to his Florida Mar-a-Lago resort and golf club.
Since taking office January 20, Trump has visited the estate on five weekends.