President Donald Trump’s trade representative spent nearly $1million on new furniture for his office – though he says it’s the Obama administration’s fault.
Robert Lighthizer shelled out $917,000 for furniture at the two trade offices near the White House, the New York Post reported on Tuesday.
That is a significant increase compared to his predecessors from the days of Barack Obama’s presidency.
Ron Kirk, who was Obama’s first trade representative, spent $237,000 on office furniture in the first year-and-a-half of his tenure.
During the same amount of time, his successor, Michael Froman, spent $151,000.
When Lighthizer’s representatives were asked about the excessive spending, they said the expensive furnishing was a continuation of Obama-era policies.
‘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.
‘The project to upgrade offices has been going on since 2014.’
But a former aide to Obama denied that the previous administration ordered a major overhaul of furniture.
The aide said it was ‘laughable’ that Trump officials were adhering to policies put forth by Obama – even though the current president has rolled back a lot of his predecessor’s initiatives, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Trump signed an executive order cancelling American participation in the TPP during the first week of his presidency – following through on a campaign promise.
‘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 trade official told The Post.
‘So furniture purchases cannot be as binding as a trade agreement that the president of the United States signed.
‘It’s just laughable.’
Lighthizer’s office has spent $18,500 for 60 sit-stand desks; $290,000 for a movable wooden wall system; and 90 office chairs that cost a total of $54,000.
The office paid $475,000 to a furniture supplier in the DC area, Executive Furniture, which offers high-end products designed for executives.
Lighthizer’s office encompasses two locations – the Winder Building and the annex at 1724 F St. NW.
It employs a total of just 270 people – which makes the almost $1million spending spree seem exorbitant.
Trump came into office with a promise to ‘drain the swamp’ of political corruption.
Yet his administration has had to deal with numerous negative stories about cabinet officials spending freely on the taxpayers’ dime.