Donald Trump has pledged to donate $1 million from his personal fortune to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Pardon me while I remain skeptical.
Why would anyone be so cynical to doubt a president’s promise of a donation to help hurricane victims? We wouldn’t be skeptical if George W. Bush or Barack Obama made that promise. We have to be skeptical of Trump because while he lies about most things, when it comes to donating money, the man is a miser.
First off, during his birther campaign, he promised to award $5 million to anyone who would produce Obama’s birth certificate. Of course, he didn’t pay up when Obama finally did release his birth certificate. Offering $1 million to disaster victims, 80% less (I think. I draw, I don’t do math) than what he offered for the birth certificate, shows that Trump puts a higher value on his racism than on hurricane victims. He would rather spend his money on evil than good.
Trump’s defenders will argue that he’s generous not just for this donation, but that he’s not taking a salary while serving as president. If we were to pay Trump his actual worth for the job he’s doing as president then the man owes us money. Also, his vacations and weekly trips to his golf resorts are costing us a hell of a lot more than his salary. If he really wanted to help the victims of Harvey then he would nix his plan of cutting $876 million from FEMA’s disaster relief account, $200 million from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration programs that help coastal states brace for future storms, and a $2.6 billion cut to the Environmental Protection Agency, among others. He could also help out the Secret Service by not charging them rent and for lodgings while they’re protecting him and his crooked offspring.
Even if Trump does donate a million bucks, the victims and the entire nation would be better served by fully funding the programs that can actually help. But again, that’s a big “if” he actually donates his own money.
Trump likes to make donations from his foundation, The Trump Foundation. But, that’s not his money. Trump has not donated to his foundation since 2008, and The Washington Post can only identify $3.9 million in charitable donations since 2001 from Trump’s own pocket. In contrast, Bill and Hillary Clinton have donated over $23 million of their own money between 2001 and 2015.
Trump brags about his charitable giving when it’s almost always coming from the Trump Foundation, which again, is not his money. It’s from other donors. On top of that, Trump has used the foundation to settle legal bills for his businesses, donate to a political candidate in Florida who was considering investigating Trump University and to buy gifts for himself, like portraits of Trump. I really hope he doesn’t send a million bucks worth of paintings of himself to the Harvey victims. They have enough shit to deal with.
During the campaign, Trump skipped a debate while having a tantrum, and held a fundraiser for veterans instead. He only paid up after the press questioned him about it…repeatedly.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who has taken over from Sean Spicer as Trump’s official liar and his own personal Baghdad Bob, bragged about the donation, but couldn’t answer when asked if it would come from Trump or the foundation. Where do you think the money would come from if it ever came, if the “fake news” media wasn’t asking about it?
On top of all that, one million out of Trump’s supposed billions is a pittance. It’s a much smaller percentage of his wealth than a ten dollar donation would be coming from you or me.
You can donate to the flood relief and take pride that you’re more generous than Donald Trump…but that would be a very low bar to set for your generosity.
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