Donald Trump calls himself “a deal maker without peer and an ardent philanthropist.”
Many of his deals are under review and under questions. His claim of being an “ardent philanthropist” is an outright lie.
A detailed investigation into his claims that he has donated “tens of millions of dollars” to charity finds less a little over seven million over the last 30 ears and five million of that went to his foundation, which is now under investigation for misuse of the funds to personally benefit one person — Donald Trump.
Writes David A. 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.
Trump pulled one of his frequent stunts: Crashing a charitable event where he never gave a dime and then appears to be a major benefactor to the media covering the event.
Back when he just a flashy, and many say shady, real estate investor, Trump’s stunts got little attention. But Trump now is a candidate locked in a tightening race against Hillary Clinton where his many lies and outrageous claims lie open for all to see.
Trump has a long history of fraudulent lies about his charitable giving.
For as long as he has been rich and famous, Donald Trump has also wanted people to believe he is generous. He spent years constructing an image as a philanthropist by appearing at charity events and by making very public — even nationally televised — promises to give his own money away.
It was, in large part, a facade. A months-long investigation by The Washington Post has not been able to verify many of Trump’s boasts about his philanthropy.
Public records show Trump has given, at most, $7.8 million out of his own pocket since the early 1980s. He has promised to donate proceeds from the now shuttered Trump University and his salary from hosting “The Apprentice” reality show and $250,000 to help Israeli soldiers and veterans.
Public records show no such contributions. He stopped giving money to his own foundation in 2008 and donations from that charity since then has handed out donations in his name even though the funds came from others, mostly wrestler promoter Vince McMahon and his wife.
When the Trump Foundation did give money, it often went to…Trump. The foundation’s largest donation, the Post reported, was $264,631 for renovation of a fountain outside Trump’s Plaza Hotel.
The foundation even spent $7 dollars to apparently cover the admission fee for Trump’s son when he joined the Boy Scouts in 1989.
The foundation spent many thousands of dollars to settle legal disputes for Trump’s for-profit companies and to buy two large portraits of the billionaire. Disclosure of the expenses sparked the now ongoing investigations into Trump’s violation of laws against “self-dealing” by charity leaders.
In New York, Trump’s record of cheating charities is well-known among others who do support philanthropy.
When Trump was “principle for a day” at a public school in a poor area of The Bronx, he arrived in a limousine at a time when the local chess team was holding a bake sale to raise $5,000 to cover travel expenses to a tournament.
Trump handed the parents of the chess match a fake million dollar bill, then $200 in cash and promised to make it possible for the team to get to the tournament. He left in his limo and the parents cheered.
But no other funds arrived. Trump’s office did not return phone calls.
“He was about the most clueless person I’ve ever seen” said David MacEnulty, a teacher at the school and coach of the chess team.
When a woman read an account of Trump’s actions in The New York Times, she called the school and donated the $5,000 needed for the trip.
“I am ashamed to be the same species as this man,” she said of Trump.
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