As with multiple other facets of former President Donald Trump’s political career, there’s something different taking place with the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery portraits of the former president and former first lady Melania Trump.
Instead of contributions coming solely from individual donors, as was the case with former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama, Trump’s political action committee will foot most of the bill for the portraits.
The donation came in the form of a wire transfer last month.
The remaining balance of the $100,000 required came from an undisclosed donor, Thomas said.
The money pays for the artists, framing, events, and other fees for the production of the portraits.
“Two artists have been commissioned, one for each portrait. The names will be released closer to the reveal of the paintings,” St. Thomas said, according to Business Insider.
“The creation of the portraits is underway. The timing of the artworks’ reveal is not determined yet,” she said.
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The donation is listed as a “charitable contribution” for the PAC, Business Insider reported.
The Smithsonian has been using outside donations to pay for presidential portraits ever since it began having them commissioned, beginning with former President George H.W. Bush’s portrait, according to Politico.
Former President Donald Trump’s Save America political action committee largely will finance the portraits of the 45th president and first lady Melania Trump for the Smithsonian. https://t.co/yLVMcF07u2 pic.twitter.com/scHJo2AJk7
— Newsmax (@newsmax) August 23, 2022
News of the donation launched a new round of Trump Derangement Syndrome among liberals on social media:
The timing of this announcement could not be worse. Putting Trump on a literal pedestal at THE SAME TIME the DOJ weighs an indictment is dangerous.
— CALL TO ACTIVISM (@CalltoActivism) August 22, 2022
However, Adav Noti, the vice president and legal director of the Campaign Legal Center, said the donation was all above board, according to USA Today.
The Federal Election Commission would only be concerned if the donation funded a charity — in this case, the Smithsonian — that could be construed as a front for a political candidate.
If not, “that’d pretty much be the end of the inquiry,” he said.