Trump stiffs charities on promised inaugural donations to pay for fancy redecorating instead


Leftover funds from Donald Trump's inaugural committee were supposed to be donated to charity. But the AP reports that, eight months later, it hasn't happened yet.

Donald Trump's inaugural committee raised a lot of money, the remainders of which it declared would be donated to charity following the events.

But, as anyone who has been paying attention at all over the past couple of years will be wholly unsurprised to learn, those donations haven't materialized yet.

Jeff Horwitz and Julie Bykowicz of the Associated Press reported Friday that, eight months after the inauguration, the leftover funds and the accounting processes around that money are "a mystery, clouded by messy and, at times, budget-busting management," which some of the people involved labeled as a "chaotic process."


And that chaos apparently has had no room for the promised charitable donations — but it did include some nice redecorating for Trump and Mike Pence.

"Stephanie Grisham, a spokeswoman for first lady Melania Trump, confirmed Trump has continued the practice of using some leftover inauguration funds for renovations to the White House and Naval Observatory, home of the vice president," the AP reported. Grisham refused to provide information on the amount of money spent on the new decor.

Tom Barrack, the chairman of the committee, has previously told the AP that "a full and clean external audit" of the finances had been conducted, but he wouldn't disclose any details of the results. He said that the committee would not publicly disclose any details about charitable giving until at least the end of November.

But as the AP notes, "Leaders of previous inaugurations expressed surprise at the slow timeline." Generally, donations of inaugural funds would occur "within three months of Inauguration Day."

Leave it to Trump to be abnormal in even this banal way.

But of course, moving at a snail's pace on donations on nothing new for him. In 2016, it took Trump four months to follow through on a promised donation of $1 million of his own money to a veterans' organization — and only after increased public and media pressure highlighted the marked delay. And he used his own foundation for blatant personal gain.

And it's not as though there was so little money to work with in 2017; the AP notes that "The committee’s total haul of $107 million was nearly twice that of Obama’s inauguration in 2009."

But it also spent absurd amounts on parts of the inauguration, including $25 million for a pre-inaugural concert at the Lincoln Memorial, which the AP says "dwarfs" the cost of a similar event for President Barack Obama's first inauguration.

Steve Kerrigan, the head of Obama's 2013 inauguration committee, was baffled by that price tag. "I couldn’t tell you how we possibly could have spent $25 million on a concert," he said.

But Trump's team found a way to blow inane amounts of money on a party for him, to dash off checks for new decor for him and Pence — but still hasn't managed to send a few donations, after eight long months.