President Trump takes pride in his ability as a dealmaker — but it’s a good thing he isn’t a concert booker. An Associated Press report says his inauguration concert featuring Toby Keith and 3 Doors Down cost $25 million, five times more than the 2009 Obama inauguration concert with Beyonce, U2 and Bruce Springsteen.
Oh: And Trump’s inauguration committee still hasn’t made good on a pledge to give leftover money to charity.
The AP’s must-read investigation of the Trump inauguration costs says Trump’s inaugural committee raised “an unprecedented $107 million” but has not fully accounted for its costs.
As TheWrap reported throughout the lead-up to his inauguration, the event was seen as radioactive to many in left-leaning Hollywood — so much so that inauguration organizers dangled ambassadorships for anyone who could procure A-listers like the ones who performed for Obama. Keith and 3 Doors down were among the few who signed on.
The AP cited eight people involved in Trump’s inauguration planning and fundraising, and four of them told the news agency that the price of the concert was $25 million — a figure AP described as “head-scratching.”
“I couldn’t tell you how we possibly could have spent $25 million on a concert,” Steve Kerrigan, head of President Barack Obama’s 2013 inaugural committee, told The AP.
He was also mystified by what happened to the $107 million: “The thing about inaugural expenses, they’re not complicated,” he said. “You take money in, you pay it out, and then you know what you’re left with when it’s done.”
Though the AP noted that an exact apples-to-apples comparison between Trump’s 2017 inauguration concert and Obama’s 2009 inauguration concert was impossible, there’s no question which included more high-wattage performers. Obama’s concert on the National Mall had 10,000 ticketed seats — twice as many as Trump’s. Kerrigan said it cost under $5 million, and HBO deemed it watchable enough to pay for the right to air it.
Obama’s event on the National Mall and at the Lincoln Memorial featured not only Beyonce, U2 and Springsteen, but also Denzel Washington, Mary J. Blige, Jamie Foxx, Steve Carell, Queen Latifah, Garth Brooks and many more. Here’s a list of Obama’s performers.
Besides Keith and 3 Doors Down, Trump’s inauguration-day performers included Jackie Evancho, Lee Greenwood, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Rockettes (some of whom reportedly felt pressured to perform, even though they didn’t want to). Here’s a list of Trump’s performers.
So where did the money go? No one on Trump’s team is saying.
“President Trump’s inaugural committee was an unparalleled success,” Alex Stroman, a former spokesman for the inaugural committee, wrote to the AP in June. Stroman added that it would be irresponsible to rely on “uninformed anonymous sources” for information.