As you may have already figured out by now, President Donald Trump is kind of obsessed with good press. After all, he drops "fake news" every time an outlet paints him poorly, but he's apparently not the only one on the hunt to be painted in a good light. Word has it that Melania Trump's "positive coverage" photos reportedly earned her thousands, according to a new report — and how sweet is it that the Trump family has so much in common.
The Trumps don't always get such great coverage in the news, but the first lady reportedly managed to find a way for her face to be associated with good press — and make a ton of money in the process. According to NBC News, Trump earned between $100,000 and $1 million in royalties from a licensing agreement with Getty Images in 2017, for photos that news outlets can only use for "positive coverage." Elite Daily reached out to the White House for comment on the report but did not immediately hear back. Getty told NBC that any reported deal was confidential and didn't say whether they had same such deals with other members of the Trump family.
Under a deal Trump reportedly made with Belgian photographer Regine Mahaux, at least 12 various news sites have unknowingly paid Trump for use of photos taken between 2010 and 2016. The photos — as stipulated in the reported agreement — were to be used solely in "positive stories." However, news outlets which used the photos like Yahoo News, the Daily Mail, Fox News, Condé Nast, and SF Gate, were unaware of any sort of "positive coverage" stipulation, according to NBC News. Mahaux told NBC that "everything is legal" and did not say anything more.
But is what Trump did any different than a standard contract? Well, yeah. Usually, the photographer gets the royalties and the agency makes money every time an image is used, but the subjects are not paid royalties. Akili Ramsess, executive director of the National Press Photographers Association, told NBC that the reported Trump deal is very unusual. She said that sometimes celebrity photographers sometimes pay their subjects royalties, but it is very rare for a politician to do so.
The outlets were probably in the dark about the reported deal because Getty's licensing agreement doesn't mention that money is reportedly being given to Trump. However, there is mention in some cases, like Mahaux's photos, of a "positive coverage" use, according to NBC.
Even if they had paid attention to the reported "positive coverage" clause, they wouldn't have known about Trump's alleged payments — the information of Trump's reported earnings from this deal only became public as a result of President Trump's latest financial disclosures, according to NBC. Though financial reports are only obligated to provide a range and not precise numbers, Trump could have earned up to $1 million from the reported deal, and some of that came while Donald Trump was on the campaign trail.
The line in the sand between the Trump family earnings and their station in the White House has been under close scrutiny since the campaign trail, and they haven't always done the best job of putting ethics first. For example, Ivanka Trump wearing her own clothing line in almost every political picture on her Instagram. At the time, Trump said in a statement, "if what motivated me was to grow my businesses and make money, I would have stayed in New York and done just that."
But Ivanka's not the only one who's been called out for reportedly profiting off the presidency. Back in January, liberal-leaning watchdog group Public Citizen released a report that showed “politicians, interest groups, corporations and entities affiliated with foreign governments” spent hundreds of thousands of dollars at properties affiliated with the Trump brand, according to The Wall Street Journal. On the list was a company tied to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, who raked up a bill of $270,000 at President Trump's Washington D.C. hotel while on a trip to overturn a law allowing victims of terrorism to sue foreign governments.
In light of this news, maybe some new photo rules for the first family have to be written. At the very least, let this be a lesson to everyone to read the fine print, people.