The older Trump gets, the tighter he becomes. The billionaire repeatedly says that over the past five years, he has given $102 million to charity. To prove the point, he filled 93 pages with a list of his contributions, all 4844 of them!
Not even one of those donations was a personal gift from Trump.
But he wasn’t always this tight. When the Donald started out, he “was known for acts of real, and well-publicized philanthropy.”
When Trump heard about a Georgia farmer who committed suicide because his farm was going to be foreclosed in 1986, he paid it off out of his personal money.
Betsy Sharp, daughter of farmer Leonard Hill III, said he flew the family to New York and burned the mortgage on TV:
‘He said, ‘Forget it. I’ll pay it off.’
He wove a web of good deeds and good publicity and became known as a “gallant friend of the little guy” by the late 1990’s.
By then, he started giving away memorabilia like golf clubs. Trump gave the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children trinkets usually given away at sales meetings.
The largest items on Trump’s list were not cash gifts but land-conservation agreements to forgo development rights on property Trump owns. He even counted a piece of land he gave to his state, although it happened more than five years ago, in 2006.
Trump personally decides where the gifts from the Donald J. Trump Foundation go. Ironically, the billionaire did not give to his own foundation from 2009 to 2014.
Trump wiggles the facts, listing clients, other business, and tennis superstar Serena Williams as charity. For example, he gave away 2900 free rounds at his club. His foundation often donated money to groups that used his facilities.
The real estate mogul’s aide and treasurer of the Trump Foundation Allen Weisselberg said that Trump has given from his own checkbook but refused to say the total of charitable giving on his federal tax filing:
‘We want to keep them quiet. He doesn’t want other charities to see it. Then it becomes like a feeding frenzy.’
Marion Satterthwaite runs a charity that returns dogs from US service members and ran a silent auction. For its auction, Trump donated 76 foursomes at one of his golf clubs, valued at $1,720 each. She said:
‘I thought it would be a pretty hot ticket, [and] it was.’
Then there are the charities that aren’t charities. Trump shows a $1,136.56 donation to “Serena Williams Group.” That translated into a free ride from Florida on his plane and a framed photo of Williams. Wow.
Nick-knacks from Trump businesses make up the rest of 4844 line-item charitable gifts. The Washington Post’s analysis showed that the small giveaways from Trump businesses seemed to account for the majority of the transactions.
But the numbers don’t add up. These “gifts” accounted for only about $6.4 million of the total dollar figure.
The most expensive charitable contributions on Trump’s list, by contrast, dealt with transactions related to real estate. He considers forgoing certain types of development on his land “conservation easements” at $63.8 million as charity.
His rivals Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Ohio Gov. John Kasich didn’t list their charitable gifts. Hillary and Bill Clinton donated 11 percent of their income to charity and established a foundation that receives $2 billion for charitable giving around the world. Of course, that keeps their name in front of the press and political friends. Bernie Sanders gave 5 percent of his income.
As Trump got older, his purse strings became tighter and tighter. Sure he gave a winner of the TV show “Extra” $5000 after promising to pay a struggling viewer’s bills, saying.
‘This is really a bad time for a lot of people.’
But get this, the contract said she had to get to his building on her own and pay her own cab fare.
If that is the price of becoming a billionaire, the cost may be too steep.
H/T: Washington Post.