Fewer Marylanders Donated to Trump Inauguration

By ABBY MERGENMEIER, BRIANA THOMAS and AMANDA SMITH, Capital News Service

WASHINGTON (AP) — Of the $106.7 million donated to President Donald Trump’s January inauguration, $2.2 million came from Maryland donors – less than the contributions from the state for President Barack Obama’s 2013 inauguration, according to a newly released financial report.

Records with the Federal Election Commission from the 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee show that 22 different people and companies from Maryland donated to Trump’s inauguration, in contrast to the hundreds of people from the state who gave money for Obama’s inauguration festivities.

The overall amount raised for the 2017 inauguration more than doubles the $43.2 million donated to Obama’s 2013 inauguration.

Nearly 2,000 individual donations from Maryland residents were made to the 2013 inauguration, totaling $2.6 million, according to FEC filings from Obama’s inaugural committee.

The difference in the amount donated and number of Maryland donors between Trump’s and Obama’s inaugurations can most likely be attributed to the fact that Maryland historically is a more Democratic state. Both of the state’s senators and seven of its eight House members are Democrats.

Sarah Croco, a government and politics professor at the University of Maryland, told Capital News Service that the traditional Democratic strongholds in Maryland like Montgomery County and Baltimore would have no incentive to donate to Trump.

“When a Democrat wins, it is in the interest for the (Democratic) businesses to donate,” Croco said.

She said Maryland’s Democratic leanings are one reason why many individuals chose not to invest in a Republican president’s inauguration.

“Trump is widely unpopular among Democrats for obvious reasons,” Croco said.

She added that the fear of openly supporting Trump in a politically dark blue state also could have deterred some Marylanders from making donations.

“Even if a company wanted to donate, they wouldn’t want to risk appearing controversial,” Croco said. “It’s not worth the backlash and the case with Under Armour proved that.”

In January, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank attended a meeting at the White House with the president and a small group of business executives, including Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin, one of Trump’s inauguration donors.

Plank’s manufacturing advisory panel meeting sparked public outrage as social media users called for a boycott of the Baltimore apparel brand. Plank attempted to calm the uproar with a statement saying the company’s interests are in creating American jobs.

“We engage in policy, not politics,” the statement said.

Lockheed Martin and Washington NFL franchise owner Daniel Snyder accounted for most of the Maryland-based donations, giving $1 million each.

A spokesperson for Lockheed Martin told Capital News Service that the company did not want to comment on the donation. Snyder did not respond to requests for comment in time for publication.

Trump’s inauguration was smaller than both of Obama’s. In Washington Metro ridership alone, 570,577 trips were recorded between 4 a.m. and midnight on Jan. 20. The numbers for Metro trips between the same operating hours during Obama’s 2009 and 2013 presidential inaugurations were 1.1 million trips and 782,000 trips, respectively.

Donations to the presidential inaugural committee are spent on events and activities after the inaugural ceremony at the United States Capitol. The FEC does not require an inaugural committee to specify how it spent donations.

Traditionally, all of the leftover money not spent on the inaugural festivities is donated to charity. Trump’s inaugural committee has said it will do the same but has not yet designated recipients.

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(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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