Donald Trump has been ordered to pay $2 million to charities by a New York state judge for misusing funds raised by his foundation. The president admitted that he used the charity money to pay off business debts, purchase a portrait of himself, and pay for presidential campaign costs, according to The New York Times.
Trump has faced a legal battle over his use of charity funds after the New York attorney general filed suit against him. In an extremely rare move for the president, he submitted a detailed admission of misusing foundation money, including $2.6 million raised in 2016 at a fundraiser for veterans. Money raised at that event was used to pay for campaign costs.
The president also admitted that he spent $10,000 of charity money to purchase a portrait of himself, which now hangs at one of his Florida resorts. In addition, he confirmed that he used money from the Donald J. Trump Foundation to pay off lawsuits related to his businesses.
Shortly after the announcement was made about the settlement, Trump released a statement on Twitter claiming that he was the victim of "political harassment."
"I am the only person I know, perhaps the only person in history, who can give major money to charity ($19M), charge no expense, and be attacked by the political hacks in New York State. No wonder why we are all leaving!" his statement read.
"Every penny of the $19 million raised by the Trump Foundation went to hundreds of great charitable causes with almost no expenses," he statement continued, in contradiction to his admission.
Trump went on to say that the New York AG mischaracterized the case against him for political reasons.
"It has been 4 years of politically motivated harassment," he wrote, adding that New York Democrats "acknowledge that we gave 100 perfect of the funds to great charities."
Again, this statement contradicts the admission Trump made in court.
Trump concluded the statement by saying that he was choosing to make a $2 million donation to various charities, including the United Negro Fund, Army Emergency Relief, Children's Aid Society, and City Meals on Wheels.Trump's charity was forced to close after the state argued that the president was using the foundation for personal use. As part of the settlement, Trump will need to meet multiple requirements, including having a majority of non-family members on the board, if he decides to form a new charity. His children, Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Eric Trump, were ordered to attend training that would guide them about how to avoid this type of misuse in the future.
It's not the only charge of failing to support charitable causes. In the past, Trump has been accused of charging his son above-market rates for a charitable event Eric Trump held.