Few Americans have ever heard of Tom Barrack, but he’s going to be a big, behind-the-scenes player in Trump’s Washington.
Indeed, Tom’s already a big player, literally in charge of parading The Donald into the White House. He chairs the presidential inaugural committee, overseeing everything from numerous balls to the swearing-in. The four-day affair will, of course, be a Trumpean Spectacular, yet Barrack insists it won’t be outlandishly tacky. “The president-elect,” says Barrack, “wants this to be about the people.”
Sure, Tom — people like you.
Barrack, a long-time Trump pal, is a billionaire speculator who runs a myriad of Wall Street funds, real estate ventures, luxury resorts and casinos. Unsurprisingly, his idea of “the people” turns out to be those privileged ones who’ll buy the premium inaugural tickets that include access to His Excellency, Trump himself. Those tickets start at $25,000. But that only gets you into the bleacher seats out in right field. For the platinum seats up in the luxurious owners’ suites, the price is a cool million bucks.
What does that buy? “An intimate dinner” with the new vice-president, Mike Pence; four tickets to a “Ladies Luncheon with Ms. Trump and Ms. Pence; an elegant “Candlelight Dinner” with The Donald and his sidekick, Pence; the black-tie Inaugural Ball with Trump, Pence, Cabinet officials, and other governmental bigshots; four tickets for priority seats at the official swearing-in; and priority booking at select hotels — so you won’t have to mingle with commoners. Barrack expects to raise a record $75 million from corporations and fat cats wanting to endear themselves to the Trumpster.
Trump declared in his campaign that “nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it.” Yeah — and now we know the price for being in on “the fix.”
Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow, on sale now from Wiley Publishing. For more information, visit jimhightower.com.