Donald Trump's Gold-Plated Inauguration: Why is it Costing $200 Million?
One of Donald Trump's big selling points during the presidential race was his self-described facility to make the best deals. But on Friday (Jan. 20) when the New York real estate billionaire takes the oath of office as the 45th President of the United States he will be doing so amidst the most expensive inauguration in the nation's history. According to the New York Times the projected costs of the pomp and circumstance around elevating the former Celebrity Apprentice host to the most powerful office on the planet could reach $200 million.
The final cost (which might exceed the $170 million spent on the inauguration of President Obama in 2009) will be split between taxpayers and private donors, with the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies and the Presidential Inaugural Committee (made up of Trump's friends and loyal donors who help plan the inaugural balls, private dinners for Trump and his incoming administration members and Thursday's concert) picking up the bill, as well as the federal government and state and local governments.
The paper reported that the biggest expense for the event comes from the massive security team that has been built over the past year to secure the area around the Capitol building. That imposing squad is made up of 28,000 men and women from the Secret Service, F.B.I., National Guard, as well as three dozen state, local and federal agencies at a potential cost of $100 million, which will be paid for by the federal government. In addition to security, CBS News reported that the $100 million will also be used to cover transportation and emergency services. More than one million people are expected to attend the various events tied to Trump's inauguration, with some of the other costs going to pay for official concerts, portable bathrooms and JumboTron screens.
The final tabulation won't be available for several weeks, as it depends on weather, the potential necessity of more security for planned protests and unexpected events, but the Times speculated that it could well be the most expensive inauguration in history. It also reported that Trump's inaugural committee raised $100 million for the event from a mix of wealthy donors, corporations and some smaller-scale supporters, nearly doubling the $53 million raised by Obama's committee in 2009.
A number of those donations came from deep-pocketed supporters who paid anywhere from $250,000 to $1 million to attend various celebratory events, including a "candlelight" dinner with appearances by Trump and wife Melania and Vice President-elect Mike Pence and his wife, Karen. Among those ponying up $500,000-$1 million, according to the Business Insider, are such corporations as aerospace giant Boeing, oil company Chevron, AT&T, Verizon and Coca-Cola. Though corporate donors are not unusual for inaugural events, the Insider noted that unlike previous administrations, Trump's team has broken with tradition and refused to release donor information before Friday's inauguration.