Memphis City Councilmen raise concerns about Trump visit security

Published: Jun. 1, 2022 at 11:00 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Former President Donald Trump will visit the Mid-South this month when he brings his American Freedom Tour to town.

According to the website, the tour is a “celebration of faith, family and God-given American freedoms.”

Billboards across the city say the tour is coming to Memphis on June 18. But two Democratic members of the Memphis City Council announced Wednesday, June 1, that Memphis Police Department should not provide security for Trump because the event is at the Landers Center in Southaven, Mississippi.

“We want to make sure taxpayer dollars are not being used to escort a former president to an arena that’s outside the city,” said Councilman JB Smiley Jr.

Councilman Smiley, who is running for Tennessee governor, and Councilman Martavius Jones said it’s not a prudent use of taxpayer dollars to provide an escort to something taking place in Mississippi.

“He’s no longer the president. He has a Secret Service detail. I think that’s sufficient. When we talk about using our tax dollars we need to make sure they benefit every single person who calls Memphis home,” said Smiley.

Todd Mastry, Executive Director of the Landers Center, told Action News 5: “Secret Service is in charge of security, as they were for his visit back in 2018. There may be some protocols that differ slightly from 2018 because he is now a former president rather than a sitting president. I’m not able to go into detail though, because Secret Service is in charge.”

Action News 5 checked with MPD who told us: “We have not been contacted” by anyone about Trump’s American Freedom Tour.

So while the billboard may say Memphis loves Trump, at least two Memphis politicians don’t love the idea of city resources being used for his upcoming visit.

“I think the best way to use our taxpayer dollars,” Smiley said, “is to fund the police so they can actually patrol for the folks who live in this city.”

Smiley and Jones plan to present a resolution to council on June 7 requesting that MPD decline any request to escort Trump.

It’s worth noting Trump made a stop in Austin, Texas last month for the Freedom tour and Austin Police provided no officers for the event. As a former U.S. President, Trump gets lifelong Secret Service protection.

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