September 28, 2017; Seattle Times
No one knows how much of the $107 million raised for President Donald Trump’s inauguration is left after covering the costs of that event, but that remainder was to have been donated to charities. Reports about whether or not the inauguration finances have been audited are contradictory even eight months after the event, so there is no indication of what proportion of available funds may still be available.
As is characteristic of Trump’s charitable work, however, the money not only got stuck somewhere in limbo, but some of it, counter to what had been promised, went to non-charitable causes such as renovating the White House and the vice president’s residence. Media reports of this latest example of the now all-too-clear pattern of delays and deflections probably helped motivate yesterday’s decision to give $1 million each to the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and Samaritan’s Purse for hurricane relief.
How much is left? Trump insiders reportedly say there is an unaccountable confusion about that number as we mentioned, but maybe we can help. The cost of the inauguration was estimated at $25 million, and the renovations have been estimated at $3 million, so $107 million less $28 million is $79 million, against which a million dollars looks relatively paltry.
But Trump’s philanthropic style has often been to use his “charity”—often made up of other people’s money—in pursuit of his other goals. Will the rest of the money then be doled out judiciously as is needed for PR purposes?—Ruth McCambridge