Melania Is (Allegedly) Be Best At Raising Money For Non-Existent Charities
This morning, the New York Times published an account of how the Trumps are grifting their supporters now that they are no longer grifting the entire country at large. While Donald Trump himself has been charging for paid speeches and selling $230 signed coffee table books to suckers, Melania's efforts have somehow been a little more pathetic.
Like the time she tried to sell a hat she wore one time and not-even-a-real-painting of herself and basically no one wanted it.
In January, she put up for auction a digital portrait of her by a French artist, a print of the portrait and a white hat she once wore at the White House while meeting the president of France.
Her plan to maximize the sales price by accepting payments only in cryptocurrency appears to have backfired, however: The crash in cryptocurrency prices in January reduced the planned opening-bid price of $250,000 to about $170,000 on the final day of the auction.
The auction drew just seven bids, according to electronic records, which also suggest that the winning bid was made by the auction’s sponsors.
Well that is just shocking, because consider the possibilities with a purchase like that. You could ... wear a large white hat and tell your fellow Republicans that it is Melania's hat. Thrilling!
After that failure, she turned her attention to more charitable endeavors. Maybe. She is now selling tickets to join her for high tea in April and telling people that whatever exorbitant price they're paying for that will go to not just to some Earl Grey and cucumber sandwiches, but also to help children in foster care Be Best.
Mrs. Trump is now selling tickets to the April “high tea,” with organizers saying that some of the profits will benefit an initiative of her “Be Best” endeavor called “Fostering the Future,” meant to provide computer-science scholarships to young people who have been in foster care.
That sounds like a fine thing to do, although the more you think about it, the more it actually seems pretty messed up that this would even have to be a charity to begin with, since it would actually Be Best to subsidize that with tax dollars. Of course, the money may actually not even end up going to those foster kids anyway, because the charity does not exist and is possibly violating Florida's charity laws.
There was no indication of how much of the proceeds Mrs. Trump herself intended to pocket. Florida requires any organization that raises charitable contributions in the state to register. No charity with the name “Fostering the Future” or “Be Best” is registered in Florida.
And the event is now being investigated.
Asked about the solicitation, officials at the Florida agency that oversees charitable fund-raising said they also could not find evidence of the required state registration and had opened an inquiry as a result.
“Consumer Services Division is currently investigating whether this event involves an entity operating in violation of Chapter 496, Florida Statutes,” Erin M. Moffet, an agency spokeswoman, said in a statement, referring to the state law requiring charities to register before soliciting money.
There's probably also a state law somewhere saying that you can't just invent a charity in order to charge people to drink tea with you and then just pocket all of the money so you can buy more giant hats. In fact, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services even has a handy-dandy Check-A-Charity website to help you be sure that you are not being scammed by the former First Lady of the United States of America.
On the one hand, it would be sad for that money to not go to those children, but on the other, the kind of people who would pay big bucks to have high tea with Melania Trump probably aren't even pretending to care about the computer science aspirations of children in foster care, so she may as well just say "Hey, give me a lot of money and then you can drink some tea with me" and not even bother bringing orphans into it (all foster children are not orphans, but still). Why bother with a potentially criminal charade when the only people who actually like you are assholes?
Dire Straits - Money For Nothingwww.youtube.com
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse