President Donald Trump claims he will give $1 million to victims of Hurricane Harvey as a personal donation.
Don’t bet on it actually coming from his own money or if a donation of any kind ever materializes.
Trump’s history of lies about his charitable giving and his use of other people’s money to make such gifts in his name suggests his claim will be more talk than cash and more grandstanding than actual help to those who need it.
Trump’s “foundation,” all but shut down by the state of New York because of fraud and violations of law governing charities, is funded not by Trump but by his rich friends who fund it and then allow him to make pledges in his name.
That’s assuming he actually fulfils his pledge. Trump, over the years, has claimed charitable contributions he never actually made or simply welched on his promises.
He has shown up at charitable events without even paying the admission fee and sat in someone else’s chair in the front, acting like he’s someone who cares about the charity.
In reality, all he cares about is sitting on center stage without paying a dime.
Reports David Fahrenthold of The Washington Post:
In the fall of 1996, a charity called the Association to Benefit Children held a ribbon-cutting in Manhattan for a new nursery school serving children with AIDS. The bold-faced names took seats up front.
There was then-Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani (R) and former mayor David Dinkins (D). TV stars Frank and Kathie Lee Gifford, who were major donors. And there was a seat saved for Steven Fisher, a developer who had given generously to build the nursery.
Then, all of a sudden, there was Donald Trump.
“Nobody knew he was coming,” said Abigail Disney, another donor sitting on the dais. “There’s this kind of ruckus at the door, and I don’t know what was going on, and in comes Donald Trump. [He] just gets up on the podium and sits down.”
Trump was not a major donor. He was not a donor, period. He’d never given a dollar to the nursery or the Association to Benefit Children, according to Gretchen Buchenholz, the charity’s executive director then and now.
But now he was sitting in Fisher’s seat, next to Giuliani.
Trump is a liar and a fraud. He promised to give away the proceeds of his Trump University, now out of business after exposed as a fraud. He pocketed the money. Others lost millions.
He promised to give personal donations chosen by contestants on “Celebrity Apprentice” from his salary as host. Investigations by news organizations and the New York state attorney general’s office found no such donations.
He used his personal “foundation” not to give donations to legitimate charities but, instead, to himself or his family. The foundation’s largest “gift” was $264,631 to “renovate” a fountain outside the windows of the Plaza Hotel, which he owned at the time.
He used other foundation funds to settle legal disputes for his companies and to buy two large portraits of himself that ended up hanging in a sports bar and on the wall of one of his golf courses. Those actions, illegal because tax laws calls them “self dealing” leg to New York state to ground the charity and stop its fundraising.
He even used the charity to pay the $7 registration fee in 1989 for his oldest son, who was 11 at the time.
Abigail Disney, who makes real donations to real charities recalls asking “I mean, what’s wrong with you, man?” The question came when Trump crashed the benefit for the Association to Benefit Children.
Association executive director Gretchen Buechenholz remembers Trump’s stunt on that day.
“Frank Gifford turned to me and said, ‘Why is he here?’ ” She told him to “just sing by it.” The ceremony had begun and there was nothing anyone could really do.
Those questions come often from those who reel in shock at the despicable antics of the 45th President of the United States.
Trump, of course, sees nothing wrong with any of his questionable actions. They are normal behavior of a liar and a fraud.
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