An investigation into the charitable donations Donald Trump claims to have made over the past 5 years — donations of over $100 million — has revealed that, in fact, Trump’s charitable donations have not been made from his own money. The investigation, spearheaded by The Washington Post, suggests that Trump’s donations have usually been made in-kind, i.e. taking the form of free stays at his hotels, or free rounds of golf doled out by his courses, or simply donations from external donors or charities forwarded through his own namesake charity, the Donald J. Trump Foundation. Perhaps more damaging is the fact that many of Trump’s charitable donations appear to be personally and politically motivated.
Trump’s charitable donations have been key to his republican candidacy campaign; from day one of his intensely publicized political campaign, he has claimed to be the most generous candidate in the running. Trump has led voters to believe that he, personally, through The Donald J. Trump Foundation, made approximately $102 million in charitable donations in the past half decade. Team Trump compiled an extensive, 93-page list of those 4,844 donations and released that list to verify its claims about charitable donations.
Unfortunately for Donald Trump, that decision seems to have backfired. The Washington Post explains the debunking of Trump’s donations and how it has revealed that Trump’s charitable donations have not been made from his own money.
“Donald Trump often uses the Donald J. Trump Foundation to make gifts to friends’ charities and to donate to groups that do business at his clubs and hotels,” reports TWP.
Indeed, the report concludes that not one of all those thousands of donations was made from Trump’s own money. The largest and most valuable items on the list were actually donations of land that Donald Trump owns, involving his foregoing of development opportunities for conservation purposes. The Donald J. Trump foundation also took into account a donation of land to New York state that in fact took place in 2006, not within the past five years and therefore outside of the constraints of team Trump’s claims regarding charitable donations since 2011.
Laying further fuel to the flames of backlash over this apparent fraudulence about Trump’s donations, it was discovered that the Donald J. Trump Foundation, where the donations came from, received little, if any, funding from Donald Trump himself. This discovery strengthens the damaging notion put forward by TWP that Trump’s charitable donations are not from his own money.
“[The Donald J. Trump Foundation] didn’t receive a personal check from Trump from 2009 through 2014, according to the most recent public tax filings. Its work is largely funded by others, although Trump decides where the gifts go,” says the report.
If that wasn’t enough to stoke the Donald Trump generosity debunk fire, the plot thickened upon investigation of the beneficiaries of Trump’s charitable donations. Indeed, not only are Trump’s charitable donations not from his own money, but they are also personally and politically motivated.
“Some beneficiaries on the list are not charities at all: they included clients, other businesses and tennis superstar Serena Williams,” reports TWP.“[Trump’s] foundation… frequently gave money to groups that paid to use Trump’s facilities, and it donated to conservatives who could help promote Trump’s rise in the Republican Party.”
According to Vanity Fair, Trump’s charitable donation to the “Serena Williams Group” takes an entirely different form than most “charitable” donations. The $1,136 went toward a free ride on Donald’s plane to a ribbon-cutting ceremony at a golf course owned by Trump and a framed photo of Serena, most likely to raise money for a charity raffle.
Furthermore, the second-biggest donation on the list of Donald’s campaign’s list when to a charity owned by a man who had once litigated against Trump’s golf courses because he was denied a hole-in-one prize.
In response to the list which TWP published yesterday, a spokesperson for Donald Trump said that Trump had in fact made charitable donations from his own money. Spokesman Allen Weisselberg, who is chief financial officer for the Trump Organization and treasurer of the Donald J. Trump Foundation, declined to provide documentation to prove the claim.
“We want to keep them quiet,” Weisselberg told TWP of Trump’s charitable donations. “[Trump] doesn’t want other charities to see it. Then it becomes like a feeding frenzy.”
Donald Trump and his campaign team are expected to respond swiftly and strongly to these claims that Trump’s charitable donations are not from his own money and are personally and politically motivated.
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