As more questions surface about Donald Trump’s private foundation, the president-elect – because he is unable to resist responding to every bit of criticism – took to Twitter on Monday to lie about the organization’s work.
I gave millions of dollars to DJT Foundation, raised or recieved millions more, ALL of which is given to charity, and media won’t report!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 27, 2016
Trump didn’t just incorrectly spell “received.” He also lied when he claimed that “all” of the funds from his foundation go to charitable causes.
Luckily, credible news organizations quickly seized the opportunity to correct this mistruth.
NPR reported that Trump “incorrectly stated the charitable reach” of his foundation and that “extensive reporting over the past year has shown [Trump’s] claims to be untrue.”
As the Washington Post also reported this year, not all of the money given to Trump’s foundation was given to charity, as the president-elect claimed. In fact, quite a bit of it was not.
At least $20,000 of the group’s funds were used in 2007 to purchase a six-foot-tall portrait of Trump. Trump’s foundation also spent $12,000 to buy a Tim Tebow Denver Broncos football helmet and another $260,000 to pay for legal fees related to his private businesses.
In 2013, Trump’s foundation gave $25,000 to the re-election campaign of Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s when she was deciding whether to investigate Trump University, despite the fact that charitable organizations are prohibited from giving political donations.
Aside from the hundreds of thousands of dollars his foundation gave to non-charitable causes, Trump gave very little of his own money to the organization. In fact, from 2009 t0 2014, the president-elect gave absolutely nothing to the foundation, according to the Washington Post.
The biggest check to the foundation – money that essentially kept the organization afloat – came from Linda McMahon, who Trump recently thanked by nominating to run the Small Business Administration.
The reason talk of Trump’s foundation was revived in recent days is because the president-elect said he was planning to shut down the organization. Much to the president-elect’s disappointment, the New York Attorney General said that the foundation must remain open during an ongoing investigation into whether Trump personally benefitted from the foundation’s spending.
Despite Trump’s claim otherwise, not only did the money to his foundation not solely go to charity, but it directly benefitted him.
This will likely remain an issue beyond Trump’s inauguration next month.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.