US taxpayers count the costs of welcoming new President
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Friday's inauguration of Donald Trump as US President may be the most expensive ever, thanks to increased security as well as inflation. The price tag is expected to reach 200 million US dollars, a big part of which could be picked up by taxpayers.
Donald Trump and his wife Melania Trump arrive at Joint Base Andrews, near Washington, DC, to prepare for attending the presidential inauguration, on January 19, 2017.
Perhaps the most iconic part of the inauguration, the swearing in, is also the cheapest. A couple dozen words that make up the oath, the construction of the stage, and a subsequent lunch would cost about a million US dollars, with more than half being covered by funds appropriated by the US Congress.
Then there is the cost of the events during the day: the parade, the balls and the concert add another 20 million US dollars.
It is a tiny part, however, compared to the cost of safeguarding all of it, in a capital city that has practically shut down. An estimated 30,000 personnel from dozens of state, local and federal agencies that have been brought in, plus their equipment, add up to a whopping 100 million US dollars. Additionally, transportation and emergency services could double the figure. But who pays?
Like previous incoming presidents, Trump has an inaugural committee. It is comprised mostly of wealthy loyalists who are pitching in. So far, the Trump Presidential Inauguration Committee has raised 90 million US dollars, a number that could still grow, as private donors fork out big bucks to see the new president on his first day in office.
A one million US dollar ticket gets you, or your corporation, a quote "candlelight dinner" with the Trumps and Pences on Inauguration Night.
Donald Trump kisses the hand of his campaign manager Kellyanne Conway at the "Candlelight" dinner to thank donors in Washington, DC, on January 19, 2017.
If you are on a tighter budget, you could opt instead for one of the galas. Tickets start at 150 US dollars. But staying in Washington, DC this weekend is pricey. The average cost for hotel rooms still available runs about 500 US dollars a night.
President Barack Obama held ten galas, while Trump is holding only three. However, his inauguration day costs are expected to exceed his predecessors. Trump has loosened the rules regulating donations, and his committee has raised more money than both of Obama's inaugurations combined. But taxpayers will pay any outstanding differences. Trump officials say the final figures will be revealed in the weeks ahead.
Barack Obama is sworn in during the second presidential inauguration in Washington, DC, on January 21, 2013.
- Editor:Albert | Source: Agencies
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