Aug 22, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Smithsonian's Trump portraits to be funded by former president's PAC

Patrons view a portrait of former U.S. PresidentTrump in the America’s Presidents exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery on May 14, 2021. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

A political action committee controlled by former President Trump has contributed $650,000 to the Smithsonian Institution for his and former first lady Melania Trump's presidential portraits, Smithsonian officials confirmed Monday.

Why it matters: It's the first time a PAC has funded the painting of a former president for the collection, Smithsonian spokeswoman Linda St. Thomas confirmed to Axios.

Details: The Save America PAC, which was created by Trump after the 2020 presidential election, gave the donation specifically for the portraits of Donald and Melania Trump.

  • As first reported by Business Insider, there is one additional "private donation" that will fund the portraits.
  • The funds will cover the artists’ fees, as well as shipping, framing, installation and events.
  • Two artists have been commissioned, one for each portrait. The artists names will be released closer to the reveal of the paintings.

For the record: The $650,000 came to the National Portrait Gallery as a wire transfer on July 14.

Between the lines: The use of the donation is legal because Save America is a leadership PAC that has few restrictions on the use of its funds, the Washington Post reports.

Context: The Smithsonian began fundraising for the presidential portraits that go in the National Portrait Gallery for former President George H. W. Bush's portrait, and it has done so ever since, Thomas said.

  • All of the gallery's presidential portraits are paid for with private funds raised by the museum.

Where it stands: The creation of the portraits is underway and a timeframe for the unveiling has not yet been determined.

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