President Donald Trump raised USD 107 million for his inaugural festivities, nearly double the previous record set by President Barack Obama eight years ago. Trump’s inaugural committee was due to file information about its donors with the Federal Election Commission by April 20 and said it would do so yesterday though it hadn’t by 10 pm Eastern time. The committee doesn’t need to publicly disclose how the money was spent.
In a statement announcing its windfall, the inaugural committee said the multi-day event “was one of the most accessible and affordable inaugurations for the public in recent history.” The celebrity businessman’s inaugural involved less hoopla than others in recent years. He held three inaugural balls, compared with the 10 Obama had at his first inaugural. Trump’s team also shortened its parade to about 90 minutes. The longest parade, with 73 bands and 59 floats, lasted more than four-and-a-half hours, at Dwight Eisenhower’s first inauguration in 1953.
Trump’s inaugural team failed to attract the kind of A- list and pricey performers who turned out in force for Obama. Trump’s headliners included teen singer Jackie Evancho, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Radio City Rockettes. The committee put on a free opening day concert and charged USD 50 per ticket to two of its balls. The Armed Services Ball was free.
The slimmed-down affair, which inaugural chairman Tom Barrack said aimed to capture the “soft sensuality” of Washington, raises questions about whether Trump spent the entire record-setting sum. He promised to give any extra money to charity but didn’t specify which ones. Trump’s USD 107 million fundraising total is “an awful lot of money it’s roughly what we spent on two,” said Steve Kerrigan, who was CEO for Obama’s inaugural committee in 2013 and chief of staff in 2009.
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Kerrigan said the inaugural events may have served as an opportunity for donors who held back during the presidential campaign to try to curry favour by showing support for the incoming president. Inaugural officials didn’t immediately return requests for comment yesterday. Their release promised more details about charitable giving at a later date, “when the organisation’s books are fully closed.”
Trump placed no restrictions on the amount of money donors could give. Obama limited contributions to USD 50,000 in 2009 but lifted that cap four years later. After raising about USD 55 million in 2009, Obama used excess funds to help pay for the White House Easter egg roll and other events, his former inaugural committee chief executive officer said.