Trump Official Blames Obama After Being Caught Spending $1 Million On New Furniture
Trump administration officials have been engaged in a mad dash to spend as much taxpayer money as possible in the most questionable of ways.
A favorite among the group, of course, has been first class travel or just renting a private plane, hell, or borrowing a jet from the government. Also popular? Dropping tens of thousands—and in some cases hundreds of thousands—on office redesigns as though they’re Fortune 100 C.E.O.s and not government bureaucrats.
At the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, the front-runner for Most Blatantly Corrupt Trump Official, invoiced taxpayers for a “brown maple wood stand-up desk with brass locks,” a second “oversize desk with decorative woodworking that some E.P.A. employees compared to the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office” (cost of refurbishment: $2,075), and a nearly $43,000 soundproof phone booth, which, it turns out, was illegal for him to purchase without notifying Congress first.
Last month, Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson caught flag after dropping $31,000 on a dining set for “safety” reasons.
And to round out the club, on Tuesday afternoon we learned through The New York Post that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, one of the people responsible for dragging us into a trade war with China, spent nearly $1 million to redecorate his office.
According to the Post, Lighthizer spent $3,500 of taxpayer money on an antique desk, $859 on a hugely important 30-inch “Executive Office of the President” plaque, and $830 to “transport and install two paintings on loan from the Smithsonian.” In addition, he paid Executive Furniture of Washington, D.C., which specializes in high-end furniture and wood-finished desks, a whopping $475,000. For his staff, he splurged on 60 sit-stand desks ($18,500), a modular wall system ($290,000), and 90 Herman Miller Aeron office chairs ($54,000). But if you thought Lighthizer would take responsibility for the expenditures, think again:
When asked about the spending spree, Lighthizer’s office pointed the finger at the Obama administration.
“The furniture purchases are the culmination of a longtime, planned project that began under the Obama administration to replace two-decade-old furniture,” Lighthizer’s office said in a statement.
Unsurprisingly, Obama-era reps were having none of this explanation, telling the Post that they didn’t approve any major remodeling plans and that it was “laughable” Team Trump would try to pin this on them, considering the new administration had no problem pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership on day four of Trump’s presidency.
“We told 11 other countries that we were going to do a trade deal with them, and the Trump administration found the power to unwind that,” an Obama trade official told the Post. “So furniture purchases cannot be as binding.”
As for whether Lighthizer will suffer any consequences for the pricey interior design choices, the odds are about as likely as Trump telling the truth.