On Nov. 29, the University of North Texas distributed a press release boasting that the “University of North Texas’ Kuehne Speaker Series has raised a record $332,000 as a result of its most recent event in October featuring Donald Trump Jr. at AT&T Stadium.”
What the press release did not note was Trump Jr.’s record expenses.
The eldest son of President Donald Trump, Trump Jr. required a speaker series record fee of $100,000, and, according to university records, hosting the Oct. 24 event at AT&T Stadium cost a series record $149,680.11, totaling a record $249,680.11 in expenses, leaving a profit of $88,319.89.
Trump Jr.’s total price tag — including speaker fee, venue, catering and travel costs — exceeded by more than $100,000 the series’ next most expensive event that featured former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani ($148,635.19).
His appearance was the third-most profitable among the 10 speakers brought in by the series since its inception in 2013, behind Guiliani ($120,714.81) and Fox Business correspondent Charles Gasparino ($115,234.77).
The UNT Kuehne Speaker Series raises money to help fund scholarships for National Merit Scholars. Tickets for the Trump Jr. event were sold only as tables with sponsorship levels ranging from $5,000 to $100,000.
According to UNT records for Trump Jr.’s appearance, $227,500 was raised from sponsorships. Another $110,500 was “given to the series from individuals as a gift, so not in exchange for a table or other sponsorship benefits,” according to a UNT spokeswoman.
Leasing AT&T Stadium, plus catering and Trump Jr.’s travel costs came to $149,680.11. Add Trump Jr.’s plus $100,000 speaker fee, $43,000 more than the next highest speaker fee (retired Gen. Keith Alexander, Nov. 5, 2014) and the grand total to bring Trump Jr. to North Texas cost organizers $249,680.11.
Trump Jr. spoke for 30 minutes and highlighted two main topics: His and his father’s view of what he called American nationalism and his definition of an ongoing war on free speech at American universities.
While appearing at the UNT to raise money for scholarships, Trump Jr. eviscerated U.S. universities, saying, “Too often universities offer parents the following deal, ‘We’ll take $200,000 of your money, in exchange, we’ll train your children to hate our country and hate your religion. We’ll indoctrinate them and punish them if they disagree with us, we’ll hide them from new ideas, we’ll give them safe spaces and make the entire university an unsafe place.’ ”
He commended UNT and other Texas universities from not being part of the overall group he was describing, and twice even congratulated UNT on being a top party school. He said all those other universities outside of Texas won’t train their students “to find jobs when they graduate. We’ll do the opposite, make them unemployable by teaching them courses in zombie studies, underwater basket weaving and my personal favorite, tree climbing.”
In the buildup to Trump Jr.’s controversial appearance, 87 UNT faculty members signed an open letter denouncing Trump Jr. being invited to speak.