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Would You Believe Donald Trump Might Be Bad At Charity?
One look at his hands and you can tell he's not even much of an organ donor.
Get that feather ready. You're about to be knocked over with it again. The Washington Post looked all over the place for evidence of the millions and millions of dollars that Donald Trump says he's given to charity, and darned if they didn't have a hard time finding any proof that he's donated anywhere near the amounts he's suggested. In fact, they could only document less than $10,000 given by Trump outside his foundation. You see, Mr. Trump, this is the sort of thing that happens when you ban a major newspaper from your events. They have time to go pursue other stories. Not to mention increased motivation.
Sure, there have been donations from the Trump Foundation, but they're still far short of what Trump has claimed:
If Trump stands by his promises, such donations should be occurring all the time. In the past 15 years, Trump has promised to donate earnings from a wide variety of his money-making enterprises: “The Apprentice.” Trump Vodka. Trump University. A book. Another book. If he honored all those pledges, Trump’s gifts to charity would have topped $8.5 million.
But in that time, public records show, Trump donated about $2.8 million — less than a third of the pledged figure — through a foundation set up to give his money away. And there is no evidence that Trump has given to his foundation lately: The last record of any gift from him to his foundation was in 2008.
Ah, but you see, Trump and the Trumposphere insist -- without any proof, which is the best way to insist stuff -- that he's actually given millions away off the books of the foundation, because he doesn't want to make a big deal about all the charitable giving that he's constantly bragging about. In a Buzzfeed story tracking down funds given by the Trump Foundation, Trump's spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, refused to give any details about all those secret gifts, saying "There’s no way for you to know or understand[.]" He's a complicated man, but no one understands him but his woman. This cat Trump is one charitable mother (shut your mouth!).
Trump refuses to release his taxes, which would provide proof of any giving outside the foundation (or maybe not -- maybe he's so magnanimous that he refuses even to take tax deductions! Yes, and like Mary Poppins's friend Mrs. Corry, he sometimes breaks off his fingers which turn into candy that he feeds to hungry children). So WaPo reporter David Farenthold has spent the last few weeks trying to dig up evidence of off-the books giving by Trump:
The Post contacted 167 charities searching for evidence of personal gifts from Trump in the period between 2008 and this May. The Post sought out charities that had some link to Trump, either because he had given them his foundation’s money, appeared at their charity galas or praised them publicly.
The search turned up just one donation in that period — a 2009 gift of between $5,000 and $9,999 to the Police Athletic League of New York City.
Imagine! Now, it's entirely possible that Trump secretly gave millions to charities that also didn't keep records, or to groups the Post never heard of or didn't think to check, like the Art Vandelay Foundation or the Human Fund. But as methodologies go, that seems to be a clever and sensible approach in the absence of any disclosures from Trump.
Like the recent story on Trump's trail of unpaid bills, you really have to read the full piece to appreciate exactly how scummy this man is, but for larfs, let's take a look at some lowlights. The Post points out that, if you include the $1 million donation Trump recently made to a veterans charity after reporters very rudely asked him when he was going to donate the million bucks he claimed he'd donated, he and his foundation have given out about $3.8 million since 2001. Which is a good chunk of money, though way less than other billionaires give out. The thing about Trump, Farenthold notes, is that "What has set Trump apart from other wealthy philanthropists is not how much he gives — it is how often he promises that he is going to give."
In 1988, Trump promised to give all the proceeds from his first book, The Bullshit Art of the Bullshitting Deal, to "the homeless, to Vietnam veterans, for AIDS, multiple sclerosis." He figured since the book was such a huge success, charities for those causes would get "four or five million." Instead, the money all went into his own bank account, but he eventually donated some of it to the Trump Foundation. Which really did give money to charities for the homeless, the vets, the AIDS, and the multiple sclerosis, though maybe a bit less than four or five million bucks:
From 1987 to 1991, Trump gave away $1.9 million of his money through the Donald J. Trump Foundation.
He gave $101,000 to veterans, according to a Post analysis of tax records from that time.
He gave $26,000 to the homeless.
He gave $6,450 to AIDS research.
He gave $4,250 to multiple sclerosis research.
The amount for those categories was $137,000, or 7 percent of the total.
Well, those are still big numbers, and maybe the book was really a huge failure.
And then there was "Trump: The Game," which just plain never sold well, according to the manufacturer. George DiTomassi, then the chair of Milton Bradley, said "The game was just nailed to the shelf," and it didn't sell any better when TV ads added a voiceover saying the proceeds would go to charity. Even so, Trump said he made $880,000 from the game, and far, far more from The Art of the Grift. And he seemed downright incredulous at the idea that he'd have turned over the money to charity when he was asked about it in court:
“Are you asking me whether or not I took the check . . . and endorsed it over to a charity?” Trump said on the witness stand in a 1991 New York State court case, brought by a man who accused him of stealing the idea for “Trump, the Game.” “Who would ever do that?”
Clearly, only A Idiot would do such a thing.
Also fun: a close look at giving by the Trump Foundation revealed that Trump gave $16,750 to the "School of American Ballet, where Ivanka Trump studied from 1989 to 1991," a charitable outlay which was never mentioned in ads for "Trump: The Game." But wait! There's More!
A private school that educated Trump’s son, Eric, got $40,000 — more than the homeless, AIDS and multiple sclerosis contributions combined.
OK, but isn't it very unfair to leave the vets out of that? He gave over $100K to the vets, which is almost as good as millions, except for being a fraction of that.
Trump also told Howard Stern in 2004 that while he was getting paid something like $2.5 million for The Apprentice, he didn't need the money, what with being rich and stuff:
“Yeah, I don’t do it for that,” Trump said. “I’m giving the money to charity.” He named AIDS research and the Police Athletic League. That year, Trump’s foundation appears to have given $1,000 to AIDS research and $106,000 to the Police Athletic League.
That's awfully close to $2.5 million, as long as your counting system doesn't use zeroes.
And then there's the infamous visit of Moammar Gaddafi to New York in 2009, when he rented a tent on one of Trump's estates. At the time, Trump never said anything about the rental money going to charity, but in 2011, he claimed, "I said when I did it, ‘I’m going to take Gaddafi’s money . . . and I’m going to give the money to charity,’ and that’s exactly what I did.” And then in a different interview, he bragged about how he'd actually "screwed" Gaddafi for more money than the rental was worth (which is of course what the USA should do with foreign leaders, haw haw). Detail? Sure, why not?
BuzzFeed recently estimated Trump’s take from Gaddafi at $150,000. If Trump did donate the money, there is no public trace of it; Trump donated nothing that year to his own foundation. And this spring, Trump seemed to have forgotten his vow to give the money to charity: “I made a lot of money with Gaddafi, if you remember,” he told CBS.
But records, schmecords -- Donald Trump loves telling the world about all the charitable donations he makes, but he can't actually reveal who he gave money to, or how much, because that would make all the charities think he's a soft touch, in some indefinable way that merely saying he gives millions and millions to charity would not do:
“We want to keep them private. We want to keep them quiet,” Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer of Trump’s business, told The Post earlier this year. “He doesn’t want other charities to see it. Then it becomes like a feeding frenzy.”
Heavens, it's far safer to just say "charity, charity, charity" all the time so nobody gets any big ideas. So, out of all those 167 charities WaPo contacted, how many got big bucks from Donald Trump?
39 declined to comment. Another 40 — including the Eric Trump Foundation — did not respond to The Post’s inquiries.
Another 77 charities had no record of receiving a personal donation from Trump.
That left just 11 which acknowledged receiving the kind of personal donation that the Trump claims to be giving all the time.
The most recent of those was the gift to the Police Athletic League in 2009.
Time to crank up the Plausible Deniability machine: OBVIOUSLY all the millions and millions went to those 79 charities that either didn't respond or had no comment, because they all respect Donald Trump's generosity and privacy so much. People are simply loyal to Donald Trump, and would never give away his secrets to a reporter. In fact, why is David Farenthold such a nasty man that he doesn't believe what Donald Trump says, and keeps looking for proof that Trump is as generous as he says he is? The reporter has to be sick in the head to be so skeptical.