Empty Promises: #Deadbeat Donald Cheats Charities

If anyone was wondering why the Trump scampaign banned the Washington Post from its press pool, here’s David A. Farenthold’s latest – “Trump promised millions to charity. We found less than $10,000 over 7 years”:

In May, under pressure from the news media, Donald Trump made good on a pledge he made four months earlier: He gave $1 million to a nonprofit group helping veterans’ families.

Before that, however, when was the last time that Trump had given any of his own money to a charity?

If Trump stands by his promises, such donations should be occurring all the time. In the 15 years prior to the veterans donation, Trump promised to donate earnings from a wide variety of his moneymaking enterprises: “The Apprentice.” Trump Vodka. Trump University. A book. Another book. If he had honored all those pledges, Trump’s gifts to charity would have topped $8.5 million.

But in the 15 years prior to the veterans’ gift, public records show that Trump donated about $2.8 million through a foundation set up to give his money away — less than a third of the pledged amount — and nothing since 2009. Records show Trump has given nothing to his foundation since 2008…

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…

What has set Trump apart from other wealthy philanthropists is not how much he gives — it is how often he promises that he is going to give….

These promises seemed designed to reassure potential customers and voters and to reconcile two sides of Trump’s public persona. On one hand, Trump said he had so much money that he didn’t need more. But on the other hand, he was always selling something.

The explanation was that the money Trump was making wasn’t for him to keep…

Apparently it was for him to to pass on to his creditors– a forty-year game of financial musical chairs, which bears some resemblance to what economists call a Ponzi scheme, IIRC.

… Trump’s representatives have repeatedly said there have been many charitable donations from Trump in recent years but that he has purposely kept them under wraps.

This year, The Post got the same response when it probed a separate claim that Trump had made about his charitable giving. At the launch of his campaign, Trump said that he had given away $102 million in the past five years. That figure turned out to comprise mostly land-use agreements and free rounds of golf given away at Trump’s courses.

Trump’s campaign said that none of the $102 million it had counted was actually a cash gift from Trump’s pocket. Such gifts existed, Trump’s staff said. But they were private. If so, those gifts are remarkably difficult to find.

Of the 167 charities reviewed by The Post, 39 declined to comment. Forty others — including the Eric Trump Foundation — did not respond to The Post’s inquiries.

An additional 77 charities had no record of receiving a personal donation from Trump.

That left 11 that acknowledged receiving the kind of personal donation that Trump claims to be giving all the time.

The most recent of those was the gift to the Police Athletic League in 2009.

Insert your own jokes about the Policeman’s Ball.

Much more detail at the link. Joking aside, it looks like the late great Tunch (through his minions in the Balloon Juice community) might’ve funneled almost as much money to animal charities as Donald Trump has actually donated to charities not intimately connected to his own family (his son’s private school, his daughter’s ballet school). And Tunch never tried to use his celebrity to run for higher office.



The Wizard of Haws

wizardoftrump

In a country with a working press and sane electorate, this would simply be the end of the Trump candidacy:

In blunt testimony revealed on Tuesday, former managers of Trump University, the for-profit school started by Donald J. Trump, portray it as an unscrupulous business that relied on high-pressure sales tactics, employed unqualified instructors, made deceptive claims and exploited vulnerable students willing to pay tens of thousands for Mr. Trump’s insights.

One sales manager for Trump University, Ronald Schnackenberg, recounted how he was reprimanded for not pushing a financially struggling couple hard enough to sign up for a $35,000 real estate class, despite his conclusion that it would endanger their economic future. He watched with disgust, he said, as a fellow Trump University salesman persuaded the couple to purchase the class anyway.

“I believe that Trump University was a fraudulent scheme,” Mr. Schnackenberg wrote in his testimony, “and that it preyed upon the elderly and uneducated to separate them from their money.”

Combined with the fact that he refuses to release his tax returns (nice troll-fu, DNC), this theory that Trump is basically broke by Josh Marshall makes a lot of sense:

This was interesting, too:

The idea that Trump is wealthy to the tune of his oft-claimed $10 billion dollars, combined with his utter lack of transparency regarding his fantasy financial statements left little to go on. For political professionals, due diligence required we assume he could bring serious cash to the game.

By August of last year, I was working to convince major donors that Trump would be a destructive force and likely throw the race to Hillary Clinton. One moment from that period sticks with me as a turning point in my thinking about Trump’s money; a major Wall Street donor laughed when I told him we’d need to mount a serious and fully-funded effort to take on Trump if he chose to self fund.

My friend scoffed at the very idea that Trump was worth even a quarter of the mythical $10 billion, much less that he was liquid to the tune of more than $200 million. “He’s not a billionaire. I’m a billionaire. He’s a clown living on credit.”

***

The evidence is mounting, and quickly, that his promises to fund his campaign are just one more Trump con; a shell, a hollow edifice of fake-it-til-you-make-it. Trump, is by the standards of 99.9% of Americans, a wealthy man, but he’s not liquid enough to fund an actual modern campaign. It’s not simply that he doesn’t have the money; it’s that his mythos requires that no one ever figure out that he doesn’t have the money.

The press seriously should stop asking him any questions except for those related to his release of his taxes.



Internet Pile-On Open Thread: Frying French

Roy Edroso, of Alicublog, casts a cold eye on David French:

I have followed French’s career at National Review for years and will just quickly tell you that he’s not only against gay marriage, he’s also against Griswold v Connecticut, the decision that invalidated laws against contraception (“Is there a single legal doctrine that can stand against the quest for personal sexual fulfillment?” French thundered); that he denounced the widespread mourning of Prince’s death on the grounds that “Prince was ultimately just another talented and decadent voice in a hedonistic culture… notable mainly because he was particularly effective at communicating that decadence to an eager and willing audience”; that he has compared Kim Davis, that crazy clerk who refused to sign gay marriage licenses, to “men like Martin Luther, John Calvin, and John Knox — the men who first put the ‘protest’ in ‘Protestant'”; that he — well, I’m out of time for the moment, but you can peruse the archive for more if you can stand it. The point is, he makes Trump look like Eisenhower…

So, even if this brief moment of pixellated notoriety has faded by evening (the Washington Post has a dutiful synopsis on an interior page, while the NYTimes settled for reprinting a couple of paragraphs from Reuters), Mr. French seems to have earned his stint as a chew toy…

Read more



Trying to make a living and doing the best I can

I salute the people at RedState for continuing to oppose Trump, and I even think their reasoning is pretty sound:

Trump is vocally supported by white supremacists, white nationalists, and racial grievance mongers. He plays to them openly. Trump attacked the wife of a political opponent and that political opponent’s father. He drummed up internet conspiracy theories.

I see that the king of virtue feels differently:

Bill Bennett said this: “It’s not the time to be out there demanding all of these things, trying to get Trump to suddenly become Reagan. Now is the time to surround him with good people and work with him at the convention.”

Bill Bennett, to his credit, was a strong critic of Proposition 187, Pete Wilson’s cynical ploy to rile up the xenophobic masses by shitting on immigrants. Not to much to his credit, Bennett has spent the last 20 years lecturing us about morality. Now he’s asking conservatives to fall in line behind Donald Trump because that’s what pays the bills for a right-wing radio host.



Well I know I had it coming

There’s a great Vox interview with Norman Ornstein about the Trumpocalypse:

But if you forced me to pick one factor explaining what’s happened, I would say this is a self-inflicted wound by Republican leaders.

Over many years, they’ve adopted strategies that have trivialized and delegitimized government. They were willing to play to a nativist element. And they tried to use, instead of stand up to, the apocalyptic visions and extremism of some cable television, talk radio, and other media outlets on the right.

I doubt though that Republicans will pay much of a price for this, at least in the short term. Yes, Trump will probably lose and Democrats will do better in the House and Senate than they otherwise would have. But they’ll find a way to obstruct most of what Hillary wants to do, and they’ll probably do okay in the 2018 midterms by attacking Hillary the same way they’ve attacked Obama.

It’s likely that the Republican strategy is suicide long-term. If I were a conservative, I’d be pretty fucking scared by the fact that, not only do young people vote overwhelming Democratic in general elections, they also just voted overwhelmingly for a Democratic socialist in the primary.

But that’s probably not Mitch McConnell’s or Paul Ryan’s or Reince Preibus’ problem. They’ll be gone out of the water by the time it boils.



He’s a bandit and a heartbreaker

It’s still hard for me to believe that #NeverTrump wasn’t able to make a dent in the Donald by hammering away at Trump University and Trump’s misogyny.

This ad about Trump University was pretty good:

As was this ad about Trump’s misogyny:

The media will try to recast Trump as a serious reformicon maverick between now and November. And we’ll certainly get a lot of this:

[T]he Clinton campaign and its surrogates will bring up Trump University and Trump’s bankruptcies and Trump’s mob ties and history of racial discrimination — but these stories will reported with the asterisk “On the other hand, the Clinton Foundation blah blah blah blah blah,” or “In the 1990s, Mrs. Clinton’s cattle-future trading was investigated….” Both Sides Do It, so the press will feel the need to yoke every Trump scandal to a Clinton scandal. This tendency is likely to be extended even to such matters as Trump’s racism: Yes, Trump calls Mexicans “rapists” and wants to ban Muslims, but Hillary Clinton said “off the reservation” that one time.

But I think that the reaction to the Trump University scam and “she’s a dog” etc. is visceral in a way that Both Sides Do It can never be. I think the only question is how voters react to MenaGate, TravelGate, MonicaGate, BenghaziGate, and so on. My guess is that most of it is too complicated for non-wingers to understand. I wonder if we’ll see some longer documentaries about the murder of Vince Foster on our teevee screens this fall.



Five years going by

There aren’t many people who foresaw the Trumpocalypse, but here’s Steve M. from April 2011:

But can’t you see him magisterially propelling himself into an Iowa state fair, or down a main street in small-town New Hampshire, in a motorcade of Escalades? And are we really sure that couldn’t work — winning the nomination, by being the macher, the mack, the big pimp?

[….]

The folks who moan that we’re on “the road to serfdom” — don’t they really want to be the serfs of rich guys like Trump?

I just don’t know. I’ve always heard that campaigning in the early states was an exercise in humility — the pigshit on your Gucci loafers at the Iowa state fair and all that. But is it different now on the right? Does the base want to prostrate itself before a plutocrat overlord, and not hold him to the same standards as mere mortals?