Washington (AFP) - First Lady Melania Trump, who lives at the family's New York City penthouse, should move to the White House or pay for the cost of protecting Trump Tower, an online petition said Wednesday.
"The US taxpayer is paying an exorbitant amount of money to protect the First Lady in Trump Tower, located in New York City," the Change.org 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," it adds.
More than 210,000 people signed the petition as of midday Wednesday, the group said.
Melania Trump has said she will stay in New York to allow her 11-year-old son, Barron, to finish the year. She will then move to the White House, she has said.
The New York Police Department says it has spent more than $24 million to protect the Trump family between election day in November and Inauguration Day in January.
That breaks down to a hefty $127,000-$146,000 per day, the city's police commissioner said last month.
Signatories voiced some less than warm-and-fuzzy opinions.
"Living in the White House is what you do when you are married to the president. 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?" asked one, Sheila Forsyth, of Newport, Rhode Island.
"If she chooses to live apart from her husband, the American Tax Payers should NOT pick-up the tab! They can afford to pay for the extravagance of living apart," wrote another signer, Jodi Quesnell of Sheridan, Wyoming.
Local authorities in Florida have voiced similar frustration at the costs of protecting the frequently visiting president at his mansion inside his Mar-a-Lago resort and golf club.
Since taking office in January, Trump has visited his mansion on five weekends.
Paulette Burdick, mayor of Palm Beach County and other authorities have been asking the federal government for two months to reimburse the extra costs of Trump's visits. So far, they have had no reply.