Politico

Trump's PAC will fund his Smithsonian portrait, in an unusual move


The portraits of former President Donald Trump and former first lady Melania Trump in the Smithsonian will be financed primarily by the 45th president’s own political action committee, a spokesperson for the museum institution confirmed on Monday.

The $650,000 donation last month from the Save America PAC — an organization controlled by Trump himself — was unprecedented, as no other political action committee has funded a presidential portrait in the past, Smithsonian spokesperson Linda St. Thomas said. An additional $100,000 was given by an undisclosed donor to support the portraits, she said.

The funds, which total $750,000, will go to the artists, events and other fees associated with the two Trump portraits.

An artist has been commissioned for each portrait, and “the creation of the portraits is underway,” St. Thomas said.

Save America’s donation was labeled as a charitable contribution to the museum institution, Insider reported earlier Monday. As a political action committee, the organization is subject to few regulations on how it spends its money.

The timeline for the creation is not yet known, and the artists’ names have not been made public. The portraits of former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama were unveiled more than a year after Obama left office.

The Smithsonian has been raising money for commissions of outgoing presidential portraits since George H.W. Bush’s portrait. All presidential portraits in the National Portrait Gallery were paid for by private money through the museum, St. Thomas said.

The Obama portraits made headlines at the time of their release for the contemporary style of artists Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald. Funded by private donors — including celebrities such as Steven Spielberg — they brought more than a million people to the National Portrait Gallery in their first year on display, according to The Washington Post.

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