$25 Million for 3 Doors Down and Toby Keith? Donald Trump’s Inauguration Budget Raises Questions
Comparisons between the presidential inauguration celebrations of Donald Trump and Barack Obama are leaving several big questions unanswered about Trump’s event earlier this year. A new report suggests that, for example, the inaugural concert cost five times as much as Obama's 2009 show, even though the list of performers seems to suggests it should have cost much less.
Obama’s We Are One celebration featured a host of big names, headed by Beyonce and also included U2, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, Garth Brooks, Shakira and others. Trump’s Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration event mustered fewer names known to the mainstream, with 3 Doors Down, Toby Keith and Sam Moore of Sam & Dave possibly the best-known performers.
Four sources in the Trump camp told the Associated Press that the show cost $25 million to stage, and that the inaugural festivities raised a total of $107 million. By contrast, Steve Kerrigan, the head of Obama’s inaugural committee, revealed that the A-list celebrity-fueled show cost less than $5 million. “I couldn’t tell you how we possibly could have spent $25 million on a concert,” he said.
Obama raised $53 million, half that of Trump, although the celebration sold 10,000 tickets -- twice the amount sold for the Trump event -- and had HBO paying for the rights to broadcast it. However, Trump likely raised more money because Obama -- and George W. Bush before him -- set a limit on personal donations towards covering costs, while Trump allowed unlimited personal donations and set a cap of $1 million on corporate donations.
Trump's committee had pledged to donate any surplus funds to charity but the AP report says that, as of now, the money has only gone to redecorating the White House and the vice president's residence. Trump’s committee head, Tom Barrack, said earlier this year that “a full and clean external audit has been conducted and completed” but that the money wouldn’t be distributed until November. However, sources told the AP that they were unaware of any such audit, and one added, “They blew out their budgets on so many things.”
“The thing about inaugural expenses, they’re not complicated,” Kerrigan said. “You take money in, you pay it out, and then you know what you’re left with when it’s done.”
50 Rock Facts You May Not Know