Here’s How Much Trump’s Inauguration Will Cost Taxpayers
The short answer: a lot
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Plenty of us are either unhappy or in denial about Donald Trump’s inauguration, scheduled to take place in Washington, D.C., on January 20. The fact that Trump ended his first press conference as president-elect with a corny branded slogan—“You’re fired!”—barely scratches the surface of why so many are displeased. Adding salt to the wound, taxpayers will be footing the bill for the extravagant swearing-in. To be fair, inaugurations have never come cheap; they are funded in part by taxpayer contributions (in addition to private fundraising carried out by the incoming president). That being said, The Washington Post estimates Trump’s soirée will cost more than previous inaugural ceremonies.
This year, Trump’s camp aims to privately secure between $65 and $75 million for inauguration-related parties, a “ladies luncheon,” a victory reception, and a candlelit dinner, The New York Times reports. Similar to previous presidents, Trump will ban contributions from lobbyists, meaning these funds will primarily come from wealthy individuals and large corporations. However, unlike former president George W. Bush, who capped donations from corporations at $250,000, Trump will accept as much as $1 million from private companies. This should only intensify concerns about Trump’s conflicts of interest, as campaign finance reform advocate Fred Wertheimer explained to The Times,
“You can’t have a more ideal opportunity to buy influence and ingratiate yourself with a new administration than by giving a huge contribution to pay for their inauguration.”
So, devious corporate donors have the first $70 million covered, but what about the rest that’s needed for an inauguration that could cost as much as $200 million? That’s where you come in, dear taxpayer. As The Post reports, $1 million should cover the swearing-in itself, including building a stage at the Capitol and serving Congress members a special lunch. The remaining federal funds will go toward securing everyone’s safety at the event, a challenge this election could make historically daunting, reports The Times. Security officials expect thousands of protestors to flood the event and are prepared for possible conflicts between demonstrators and Trump supporters. As the former secretary of homeland security, Michael Chertoff, reiterated to The Times, “I can't think of an inauguration that presented more security challenges than this one.”
Despite the high cost and security risks, Mic points out that Inauguration Day will also bring a sizeable economic boost to Washington, D.C., via increased patronage to local hotels, bars, and restaurants. Let’s just hope against all odds the wealth continues to spread after Trump takes the oath of office.