South Carolina provided 185 police officers and spent thousands of dollars when former President Donald Trump held an invitation-only event at the State House.
The expenses include $3,000 for barriers set up around the State House as part of security measures to host the former president. The state will be on the hook for overtime security costs incurred by the Department of Public Safety.
But neither the Department of Public Safety nor the Department of Administration plan to charge the former president’s campaign for the costs.
Trump’s presidential campaign won’t be charged for the security provided by the state and for use of the facility because the facility is open to any political candidate to use, the Department of Administration said.
The Department of Administration, which administers use of the State House grounds, does not have authority to charge rent.
The Department of Public Safety, which assisted the Secret Service with the event security, had 185 officers working Saturday. However, the agency said it would not have an estimate of its overtime cost for the event until mid-February.
“The Department of Public Safety/Bureau of Protective Services’ mission is to provide protection and maintain safety for any and all events in the State House and on the Capitol complex,” spokesman Kyle McGahee said in an email to The State. “Per our normal practice, no event organizers were charged by the department for the event.”
It’s not unprecedented for political events to be held at the State House.
Joe Cunningham, the 2022 Democratic nominee for governor, held a news conference at the State House during his gubernatorial campaign to announce an endorsement from House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, D-Richland.
When Gloria Bromell Tinubu dropped out of the 2020 Senate race and endorsed Jaime Harrison, that news conference took place at the State House.
In 2022, Gov. Henry McMaster had a campaign news conference on the State House grounds to announce endorsements from 32 county sheriffs and 10 solicitors.
Unlike during Trump’s campaign event, however, the State House grounds remained opened to the public during those other political campaign events.
Trump used his Saturday event to roll out his South Carolina leadership team, which includes McMaster and Graham.
Former S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley plans to announce her presidential run on Feb. 15 at an event in Charleston.