Not to be outdone by Ben Carson’s $31,000 dining table, a Trump administration official in charge of a small government agency spent almost $1 million to furnish two offices, the New York Post reported Tuesday.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer spent more than $917,000 on essential items for his Washington, D.C., offices, including a $290,000 moveable wooden wall system, a $3,500 antique desk, and an $859 30-inch plaque that reads “Executive Office of the President.” By contrast, President Barack Obama’s two trade ambassadors spent a combined $388,000 on office furniture, the Post reported,
In a statement to the Post, Lighthizer’s office said the costs were simply part of an initiative to upgrade agency offices, which predates the Trump administration.
“The furniture purchases are the culmination of a longtime, planned project that began under the Obama Administration to replace two-decade-old furniture,” the office said.
But Obama representatives told the Post that wasn’t true, and an aide called the office’s explanation “laughable.”
“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,” the Obama aide told the Post, referring to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that Trump axed just days into office. “So furniture purchases cannot be as binding as a trade agreement that the president of the United States signed.”
Lighthizer is only the latest Trump administration figure to be accused of lavishly spending taxpayer dollars. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson ordered the infamous mahogany table for his office — a move he ultimately blamed on his wife, Candy Carson — while EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt leased a Chevy Suburban with a leather interior, bucket seats in the second row, and special seat covers made of a Kevlar-like material. That lease cost taxpayers $10,200 in his first year at the agency.
Cover image: WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 22: U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer testifies before the Senate Finance Committee March 22, 2018 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony on President Trump's trade policy agenda. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)