NEW YORK, NY (CBS MONEYWATCH) - Donald Trump has promised that his inauguration will “very, very special, very beautiful.” By one measure, the event will definitely be as “bigly” as Mr. Trump envisions, given his inaugural committee has raised a record $90 million in private donations.
Aside from the private funds, taxpayers will foot the rest of the bill, with total spending projected as high as $200 million. Even though Mr. Trump’s Presidential Inaugural Committee has raised almost as much as President Barack Obama’s two inaugural committees combined, the Jan. 20 event is slated to be lower key than previous celebrations.
Tom Barrack, the lead inaugural planner, has told The Associated Press that he’s aiming to avoid a “circus-like atmosphere.” That may partly be out of the inauguration committee’s hands, since many A-list performers have snubbed the event, including Elton John and Celine Dion.
While Mr. Obama held 10 inaugural balls at his first inauguration, Mr. Trump is organizing only three. His parade is expected to run about 90 minutes. By comparison, the longest ever inaugural procession followed the 1952 election of Dwight Eisenhower, clocking in at more than four hours, according to accounts at the time.
Trump has predicted that “massive crowds” will attend the event, which kicks off with a Friday morning worship service and culminates that night with the inaugural balls.
“For many of us who worked behind the scenes before the election, this is in part a celebration of the end of the Clinton era and the beginning of a new dialogue between political factions,” said Kat Niedermair of Warfare Media, which is behind the DeploraBall events, a play on Hillary Clinton’s description of Trump supporters as a “basket of deplorables.
One of the DeploraBall events will be held at the National Press Club, while another will be a formal gala at the William F. Bolger Center in Potomac, Maryland. Other events are also being organized around the country. Many tickets for the National Press Club event were sold below cost, so that event is “striving to break even,” Niedermair said.
About half the DeploraBall attendees are estimated to be traveling from beyond the Beltway. Niedermair added, “Many attendees were already planning to attend an inauguration, and this is the culmination of being able to celebrate with your political cohorts.”
Still, it’s not entirely clear how many in the crowd will be attending in support of Mr. Trump versus protesting his presidency.
While hotels are reporting strong demand for the inauguration weekend, many said that guests are booking rooms for the so-called Women’s March on Washington on January 21, according to tourism group Destination DC. Airbnb said that it’s booked more than 13,000 guests at its listings for inauguration day, a tenfold increase from inauguration day in 2013. Some of those bookings are also for people attending the Women’s March, rather than the inauguration.
Inauguration attendees can watch many of the events for free. No tickets are required for general admission to the swearing-in ceremony, Tickets are required for special viewing areas for the parade, which will have more than 8,000 participants, including equestrian corps and high school and college marching bands.
Mr. Trump’s well-heeled supporters won’t have to line up along Pennsylvania Avenue in the chilly weather with the hoi polloi, however. Donors who have at least $25,000 to contribute to the inaugural committee are guaranteed tickets to the “victory reception,” billed as an “entertainment-filled welcome reception” and shuttles to the events.
The Trump Inauguration Committee didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
Below is a rundown of the inauguration by the numbers.
Total cost: about $200 million. Cost estimates for the event range from $175 million to $200 million. The biggest expense is likely to be security, transportation and emergency services, given that the federal government spent $124 million on those items for the 2009 inauguration.
Private donations: $90 million. The Trump inaugural committee has said it’s raised more than $90 million from private donors, who are paying steep prices to gain access to Mr. Trump and his circle.
Most expensive inauguration ticket: $1 million. Wealthy donors and corporations have the option of underwriting the inauguration through donations ranging from $25,000 to $1 million. The most expensive package offers a “candlelight dinner” that will include appearances by Mr. Trump; his wife, Melania; and Vice President-elect Mike Pence and his wife, Karen.
Gala tickets: from about $150 and up. If you’re hoping to attend the Freedom Ball, one of the official Trump Inauguration Committee events, you are out of luck -- tickets are sold out. Yet there are other balls still selling tickets, ranging from about $150 to more than $1,000 per person.
Average Airbnb rental: $129 per night. Airbnb said the typical price for lodgings advertised on the online service has increased by about $30 per night, reaching $129 per night during inauguration weekend.
Average hotel price: $464 per night. That’s according to Expedia, which says the average hotel room for two people in Washington, D.C., will set you back by $464 for the night of Jan. 20th.
Trump commemorative license plate: $50. The inaugural committee is selling the “Official 58th Presidential Inaugural License Plate” for $50. Trump’s name is in black type on the white plate, with the slogan “Make America Great Again” underneath. Contributions aren’t tax-deductible.
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