Trump PAC’s $650,000 ‘charitable contribution’ to the Smithsonian will pay for portraits of Donald and Melania Trump

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Donald Trump portrait

Ukrainian artists Daria Marchenko and Daniel Green are seen with their portrait of US President Donald Trump, made of US pennies, nickels, and dimes, January 30, 2018, in New York. Trump’s political committee, Save America, donated $650,000 to the Smithsonian Institution to fund portraits of Donald and Melania Trump.Don Emmert/AFP via Getty Images

  • Save America, one of Donald Trump’s political committees, donated $650,000 to the Smithsonian.

  • A Smithsonian official confirmed to Insider that the money will fund portraits of Donald and Melania Trump.

  • The donation will cover “artists’ fees, shipping, framing, installation, and events.”

A $650,000 “charitable contribution” former President Donald Trump’s political committee made to the Smithsonian Institution will help fund portraits of Donald and Melania Trump for the National Portrait Gallery, a Smithsonian official confirmed to Insider.

The contribution, which Trump’s Save America PAC disclosed without explanation in a Federal Election Commission filing Saturday, will “support the artists’ fees, shipping, framing, installation and events,” Smithsonian spokesperson Linda St. Thomas said.

“Two artists have been commissioned one for each portrait. The names will be released closer to the reveal of the paintings,” St. Thomas said. “The creation of the portraits is underway. The timing of the artworks’ reveal not determined yet.”

Save America PAC’s $650,000 contribution came to the National Portrait Gallery as a wire transfer on July 14, St. Thomas said.

She added that “one additional private donation” — she did not specify the amount or source, beyond saying it’s “a family” — is also helping fund the portraits.

“We cannot give out name of a donor without telling them first so that’s on hold,” she said.

St. Thomas noted that “all portraits of presidents at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery are paid for with private funds raised by the museum.”

Representatives for Trump did not respond to requests for comment.

Save America PAC — Trump’s flagship post-presidency political committee — reported more than $99 million cash on hand through July 31.

This cash reserve coincides with Trump openly flirting with another run for the White House in 2024, even as he faces significant legal peril at the federal, state, and local levels.

Barack Obama and his presidential portrait

Former President Barack Obama walks by his presidential portrait as he and former first lady Michelle Obama have their portraits unveiled at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery on Monday February 12, 2018 in Washington, DC. The former president’s portrait was painted by Kehinde Wiley while the former first lady’s portrait was painted by Amy Sherald.Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Presidential portraits

The National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, features official portraits of all former presidents. At present, an unofficial Trump photo portrait, from photographer Pari Dukovic, appears in the gallery’s online display.

Portraits of former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama — wildly popular attractions that attracted huge crowds in their first year on display — were fueled by about $500,000 worth of private funds from donors, TIME magazine reported in 2018.

The Smithsonian lists several-dozen individuals, foundations, and trusts that contributed funding to the Obama portraits, including film director Steven Spielberg and actress Kate Capshaw. The Obama portraits are currently on a national tour.

Over the years, Trump has had a curious relationship with wall-hangings depicting his likeness.

In 2007, Trump purchased a 6-foot-tall portrait of himself at an auction — and paid for it with $20,000 from what was then his charitable foundation, which Trump himself did not primarily fund, the Washington Post reported.

Until 2017, Trump also displayed framed TIME magazine covers from 2009 featuring his image at several of his golf clubs. But at David A. Fahrenthold, then of the Washington Post, revealed, the covers were fakes.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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