What will President Donald Trump waste money on? Aside from a hideously racist border wall, makeup, room service, and lots of empty hotel rooms. As reported by the New York Times, $10,000 was allocated by the president’s inaugural committee for makeup and room services for aides in January 2017. How many people was this supposed to cover? 20.
Yes, just 20. That comes out to about $500 per person.
Let’s look at the breakdown of his spending choices (which were made public only recently), and were exactly the money came from. Somehow, looking beyond the makeup budget, things get even worse.
Private donors contributed $107 million towards Trump’s inauguration, as reported by the Times. So the makeup budget came out of that $107 million in donations. Contracted staff members received paid-for plane tickets, hotel rooms, room service, and cabs. Is that so unusual? No. (Well, the room service, maybe.)
Some of these contracted staff members also received a per diem payment of $30,000.
Where else did the money go? ABC News reports that internal documents revealed that $130,000 was blown on customized seat cushions. $130,000 was dropped on salad bowls from Tiffany & Company. Oh, and a casual $2.7 million for a rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York.”
Here’s what’s really breathtakingly wasteful: $6.4 million went to hotel rooms booked for guests that did not even stay in them. Yes, the guests arranged other accommodations. Yes, those bafflingly expensive rooms were empty.
While Trump’s committee says they vetted all donors (as is the norm), investigators are checking to see if any foreign donations were snuck in, or if any went off-the-record.
While these numbers are sky-high and almost abstract for most Americans, it’s worth looking at how they compare to past presidents. How much did, say, much-loved former President Barack Obama raise for his inauguration? Or even another conservative, like former President George W. Bush? As reported by The Hill, they each raised only about half of Trump’s $107 million.
In the end, the bill was more than $1.5 million. Oh, and where did this all take place? None other than the Trump International Hotel, of course.