$200 million can buy you a lot of things — it could get you nearly 200 Bugatti Veyrons, or over 28,500 wells to serve a communities in Africa through Water Wells for Africa. Or if you’re President-elect Donald Trump, it could get you one truly decadent inauguration.
Indeed, The New York Times estimates that Trump’s inauguration will be the most expensive in history, and that the ceremony is likely to run over $200 million.
Security will be the event’s biggest expense. Over $100 million — all of which taxpayers will pay — will go to keeping 28,000 local, state and federal personnel on hand and ensure there is no violence. This is roughly equivalent to what the federal government paid to provide security for the 2005 and 2009 inaugurations.
As for the other half, The Wall Street Journal reports Trump’s inaugural committee has raised another $100 million by promising access to the administration and “plenty of perks,” including “dinner with [former Indiana Governor Mike] Pence, a lunch with select cabinet employees, and tickets to one of about 1,500 seats at a candlelight dinner [where Trump will appear].”
The higher price tag doesn’t exactly come with equally high enthusiasm, however. Over the past few months, the Trump team has struggled to find artists willing to perform at the inauguration, which will feature a shorter parade, comparatively fewer unofficial gala balls and far fewer A-list artists performing.
Toby Keith has agreed to play, telling Entertainment Weekly last week that he doesn’t “apologize for performing for our country or military.” Other performers include 3 Doors Down, relatively unknown YouTube acts The Piano Guys, country duo Big & Rich, and 16-year-old Jackie Evancho, whose 2010 performance on “America’s Got Talent” secured her the honor of singing the national anthem.
In general, inaugurations feature a flurry of unofficial celebrations, but recent data indicates that may not happen this time around. The Washington Post reports that several of DC’s great halls are going unrented, and the few planned private events are having trouble selling tickets.
Trump himself will only be attending three “low-key” gala balls Friday evening, according to Reuters. An incoming president-elect attends an average of 10.
Over 50 House Democrats are boycotting the ceremony stemming from a feud between the soon-to-be 45th U.S. president and John Lewis, a civil rights activist and congressman.
Trump attacked the representative on Twitter during the Martin Luther King holiday weekend after Lewis appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and said, “I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president … I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.”