Last year, our “Trump, Inc.” podcast with WNYC explored the mystery of how Donald Trump’s inaugural managed to raise and spend $107 million. A lot has happened since then.
We now know the inaugural committee is the subject of a wide-ranging criminal investigation. And we at “Trump, Inc.” broke the news that some of the inaugural money went to Trump’s own business — and that Ivanka Trump played a role in the negotiations. That could violate tax law. (A spokesman for Ivanka said she simply wanted a “fair market rate.”)
In our latest episode, we take a deep dive into the many roles of Tom Barrack: Trump’s old friend; wealthy investor with decades long ties to the Middle East; and the man who chaired the now-under-investigation inaugural committee.
Before the inauguration, Barrack described the role as “the worst job in the world.” So why’d he take it?
One possible clue comes from an eight-page strategic plan dated one month after the inauguration on the letterhead of the company he founded. Another reason could be a plan he supported to export U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia.
Barrack has spent his career cultivating the powerful. He lives by twenty “Rules for Success,” including: “Punctuality is the courtesy of kings” and “The jungle is a safer place with professionals than a paved road with amateurs.”
Barrack did not agree to an interview. His spokesman, and the inaugural committee, did not respond to our questions. A committee spokeswoman previously said its finances “were fully audited internally and independently and are fully accounted.”
Elsewhere, we report that the inaugural committee was so eager to book space at Trump’s hotel in Washington that it encouraged hotel management to cancel another event — a prayer breakfast — so space would be clear for the inaugural, according to a lawsuit against the committee filed by the reverend who organized the breakfast.
The hotel did briefly cancel the breakfast, invoking “force majeure,” or an act of god. In this case, they predicted civil unrest over the inauguration week.
Listen the episode here.