President Donald Trump’s 2017 inauguration may have marked the beginning of two years of chaos, but the ceremony itself was memorable for, um, other reasons. The event provided the internet with plenty of fodder for memes—from the sparse crowds to the mysterious Tiffany box that Melania Trump gifted Michelle Obama. But it turns out that Trump’s inauguration was also outlandishly expensive, costing $10,000 just for makeup.
According to a January 14th report from The New York Times, private donors raised more than $107 million for the event, and the committee managed to spend about $102 million on the festivities, with the other $5 million going to charity. The paper notes that the total number is at least two times as much as presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush each spent on their inaugurations.
The Trump inauguration committee spent $10,000 on makeup for 20 aides at one evening event—which comes out to about $500 per person. Aside from what was possibly the largest Sephora splurge ever, the committee also spent $30,000 in daily allowances to contractors working on the event, who also had their travel expenses, room service, and hotel rooms paid for. And the cherry on top? The Trump International Hotel received $1.5 million for the festivities.
The NYT also points out that the committee spent $6.4 million on a block of hotel rooms for guests, but only half of the reserved rooms were used. Additionally, the largest vendor at the inauguration was WIS Media Partners, a company owned by one of the first lady’s close friends. Its duties included overseeing broadcast rights for inaugural-related events and chronicling everything in a documentary—which never came to fruition. In the end, WIS Media Partners received almost $26 million. As The NYT reported in February 2018, the company was created six weeks before the inauguration took place.
According to HuffPost, Trump’s inaugural committee is currently under investigation to determine if it accepted illegal foreign donations. We wish we could say we were surprised.