In May, under pressure from the news media, Donald Trump made good on a pledge he made four months earlier: He gave $1 million to a nonprofit group helping veterans’ families.
Before that, however, when was the last time that Trump had given any of his own money to a charity?
If Trump stands by his promises, such donations should be occurring all the time. In the 15 years prior to the veterans donation, Trump promised to donate earnings from a wide variety of his moneymaking enterprises: “The Apprentice.” Trump Vodka. Trump University. A book. Another book. If he had honored all those pledges, Trump’s gifts to charity would have topped $8.5 million.
But in the 15 years prior to the veterans’ gift, public records show that Trump donated about $2.8 million through a foundation set up to give his money away — less than a third of the pledged amount — and nothing since 2009. Records show Trump has given nothing to his foundation since 2008.
Trump and his staff are adamant that he has given away millions privately, off the foundation’s books. Trump won’t release his tax returns, which would confirm such gifts, and his staff won’t supply details. “There’s no way for you to know or understand,” Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks told BuzzFeed recently.
Hicks did not respond to repeated questions about Trump’s charity from The Washington Post. Trump earlier this month revoked The Post’s press credentials to cover his events.
In recent weeks, The Post tried to answer the question by digging up records going back to the late 1980s and canvassing a wide swath of nonprofits with some connection to Trump.
In the 1980s, Trump pledged to give away royalties from his first book to fight AIDS and multiple sclerosis. But he gave less to those causes than he did to his older daughter’s ballet school.
In recent years, Trump’s follow-through on his promises has been seemingly nonexistent.
The Post contacted 188 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.
‘An agent for charities’
In all, when the $1 million gift to veterans is added to his giving through the Donald J. Trump Foundation, Trump has given at least $3.8 million to charity since 2001. That is a significant sum, although not among billionaires. For example, hedge-fund titan Stanley Druckenmiller, just behind Trump on Forbes’s rankings of net worth, gave $120 million to his foundation in 2013 alone.
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.
From 1988: “To the homeless, to Vietnam veterans, for AIDS, multiple sclerosis,” Trump said about proceeds from his first book, “The Art of the Deal.” “Originally, I figured they’d get a couple of hundred thousand, but because of the success of ‘The Art of the Deal,’ they’ll get four or five million.’’
From 2015: “The profits of my book?” Trump said when a reporter asked about what he would do with the proceeds from his most recent book, “Crippled America.” “I’m giving them away, to a lot of different — including the vets. ’Kay?”
These promises seemed designed to reassure potential customers and voters and to reconcile two sides of Trump’s public persona. On one hand, Trump said he had so much money that he didn’t need more. But on the other hand, he was always selling something.
The explanation was that the money Trump was making wasn’t for him to keep.
“I am acting as an agent for charities,” Trump said in 1989 at the unveiling of Trump: The Game. In news accounts, he estimated the board game alone would bring in $20 million for charity.
Milton Bradley, which made the game, saw the need for such a promise firsthand. After the company released the game — a Monopoly-like board game with Trump branding — it didn’t sell.
“The game was just nailed to the shelf,” said George DiTomassi, who was president of Milton Bradley at the time. One problem, he said, was that customers were not told about Trump’s pledge to give proceeds to charity. “They felt perhaps this was going to be something that a millionaire would make some money on,” DiTomassi said.
The TV commercial for the product was changed. “Mr. Trump’s proceeds from Trump: The Game will be donated to charity,” a new voice-over said at the end.
It still didn’t work. The game tanked.
[Missing from Trump’s charitable giving: His own personal cash]
Still, Trump said he made $880,000 from it, and even more from “The Art of the Deal.” In 1987, the mogul started the Donald J. Trump Foundation to donate his royalties.
But the proceeds didn’t go straight to charity. They went straight into Trump’s bank account.
“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?”
rump said he did eventually pass money to his foundation, which gave it away to charities. He said he had given away even more than he had earned.
But when Trump ran into financial troubles in the middle of 1990, records show that his giving to the foundation slowed — then stopped. In 1991, he gave no money to the foundation. If book and game royalties came in that year, Trump apparently found another use for them.
When Trump did give his money to charities, it wasn’t always to the well-known causes he mentioned in interviews.
One case in point was the promise, made in the promotion of “The Art of the Deal,” that Trump would give royalties “to the homeless, to Vietnam veterans, for AIDS, multiple sclerosis.”
He did give to those causes — but not very much.
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 $12,450 to AIDS charities.
He gave $4,250 to multiple-sclerosis research.
The amount for those categories was $143,700, or nearly 8 percent of the total.
Much of the rest went to charities tied to Trump’s life: society galas, his high school, his college, a foundation for indigent real estate brokers. The School of American Ballet, where Ivanka Trump studied from 1989 to 1991, got $16,750.
A private school that educated Trump’s son Eric got $40,000 — more than the homeless and AIDS contributions combined.
(See link for full article)
Perhaps the most telling part of this news is that Trump will not second think in using deceptive, con-salesmen tactics to create and disperse an image. Just as he boasted (and continues to boast) for charity (while deliverying little if at all), he has its supporters by the toes with vague, deceptive promises that he not only does he flip-flop occassionaly, he will unlikely deliver. Everything he's done is worthy of a snake-oil salesman, yet he keeps getting suckers to buy in.
Sooo.... a journalism outlet cannot criticize someone for lying about their charitable giving unless they themselves have given comparable amounts?
I don't think you understand how journalism works.
I think you missed the entire point of the article. Washington post may not be a philantropy, but it doesn't claim to be and much lest constantly boast about it, unlike Trump and his false advertising.
>He gave $1 million to a nonprofit group helping veterans’ families.
Actually, he said at a speach he asked people to donate and see if they could raise a few thousand.
People donated and kept donating so it built up to 5 thousand last I heard and was expected to keep growimg.
The money was given to multiple charities, not one. Each charity chosen was thoroughly investigated and were chosen based on how much is given away and how much is lost in management.
He wasn't "hounded" by the media. He actually kept it private and each charity found a check in the mail for thousands of dollars a surprise. Trump recieved numerous calls from grateful charity workers.
What he was "hounded" by the media for was how much he personally gave, and how much went to charity. He listed off literally every charity by name in a press release and how much they each recieved because the reporters demanded it.
The best part of the press release was the fact a veteran head of a charity was physically shaking behind Trump. At one point Trump asked him if he'd like to step forward and say anythig he wanted to say.
It turned out the man was shaking with anger. He let loose on the reporters and said calmly it was a good thing Trump wanted to look into each charity. He said it was disgusting how people focused more on reporting how terrible Trump is rather than the great news that so much money was raised for veterans. How he had to talk to charities every day that didn't know how they were going to pay for things.
You can look it up on youtube. It's 30 minutes of Trump slapping down evedy reporters critich with rebutles and sources.
>A million is a large amount of money. I wouldn't call that a lie.
Yes. A million is a large number. I agree. Well done.
But according to the Post's research, Trump's total pledges are at least $8.5 million, but public records show only $2.8 million, with zero clarification or hints from his staff at how his "off the book" givings might be verified, and a thorough sweep of nonprofits turning up nothing.
So despite all efforts, there is zero accounting for about $5.7 million dollars of his claimed charitable giving (again, tax returns at this point would be the easiest verification since no nonprofits show any receipts from Trump). And you will note, according to your thesis, that 5.7 million is indeed a large amount.
For someone who claims their net worth can be as high as $10 billion, giving away $10 million, i.e. 0.1% of that worth, is pretty pathetic.
I guarantee every one of you has given away at least 0.1% of your net worth. Depending on if you own a home or not (and if you are still on mortgage/loan for it or on student loans, and not including federal accounts), your net worth is probably generously between $100k and $2m, so you would have had to give away between $100 and $2000 to match Trump's claimed giving ratio. I guarantee if you add up everything you have sent to nonprofits online, Kickstarters (or not if you don't think they count, whatever), campaigns, alma maters, fundraisers in person, AGDQ, etc, you will meet or exceed your target.
And every fucking American billionaire since Carnegie has given at least cursory acknowledgement to the Gospel of Wealth (the only people actively against it were Old World aristocrats), giving income regularly, endowing at least something, almost all exceeding at the very least 1% donations (most doing significantly more, and of course Carnegie's Gospel itself being zero capital inheritance save the company itself, i.e. 100% donation).
tldr; Trump looks like an asshole scrooge compared to every other American billionaire. That is, of course, unless his net worth is significantly less than he claims, as some have suggested....
The issue wasn't wehther the money he raised was being delivered, but that his own personal pledge was never made until pressed on by reporters. This is consistent with his penchant to making pledges and not honoring them, or honoring them at a minimal fraction as reported in the article. What's more, he won't release his tax returns which would allow verification of his charity donations as well as his claimed income, which as typical, are likely bloated to fuel a brand, not reflect reality.