It’s not as if any sentient being hadn’t known all this for oh, 25-30 years, but more evidence is emerging that Donald Trump has been lying for years about his charitable donations. It’s not just that he doesn’t give very much, it’s that he claims to have made donations that in fact were never made.
If Trump stands by his promises, such donations should be occurring all the time. In the past 15 years, Trump has promised to donate earnings from a wide variety of his money-making enterprises: “The Apprentice.” Trump Vodka. Trump University. A book. Another book. If he honored all those pledges, Trump’s gifts to charity would have topped $8.5 million.
But in that time, public records show, Trump donated about $2.8 million — less than a third of the pledged figure — through a foundation set up to give his money away. And there is no evidence that Trump has given to his foundation lately: The last record of any gift from him to his foundation was in 2008.
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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.
That research showed that Trump has a long-standing habit of promising to give to charity. But Trump’s follow-through on those promises was middling — even at the beginning, in his early days as a national celebrity.
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In recent years, Trump’s follow-through on his promises has been seemingly nonexistent.
The Post contacted 167 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.
Cue the video.
Come on, media folks, this is who Donald Trump is. You breathe, you eat, you live your life. It’s what you do. Donald Trump? He lies, he cheats, he grifts. It’s what he does. Stop acting surprised when he lives up – or down – to his nature. You might as well arrest and imprison the alligator that killed the child in Florida. The alligator was just being itself.
The better question, the one the media ought to be asking but won’t, is what does it say about Paul Ryan and Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and Mitch McConnell and all the rest that they are continuing to support the alligator even after it ate the kid? That’s the problem here. You can’t blame Donald Trump for being Donald Trump. It’s who he is. But for the GOP, the question is more existential: who are WE and what do we stand for?
So far, for the most part, the answer is that they stand with the alligator.