A lot of minor stories are overheated and hyped. And then sometimes you get a real potential blockbuster and it is cautiously reported at first. Carefully read this post above and absorb some of these understated facts.
BuzzFeed, for example, found that Trump received $2 million to advise Mike Tyson on the boxer’s business decisions, and he said the money would go to charities. There’s no evidence that ever happened. In 1989, Trump said proceeds from his game show would go to charities, but there’s no evidence that happened, either.
Politicoreported that Trump claimed the proceeds of his dealings with Muammar Gadhafi would go to charities, but there’s still no proof to substantiate the promise. And the Huffington Postreported that the proceeds of Trump’s board game were also supposed to go to charities, but – you guessed it – there’s nothing to suggest any charity ever received a dime.
The Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold has done quite a bit of digging on this front and reported today that despite Trump’s promises about millions of dollars in charitable contributions, an investigation turned up less than $10,000 in donations over the last seven years.
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…. In the 1980s, Trump pledged to give away royalties from his first book to fight AIDS and multiple sclerosis. But he gave less to those causes than he did to his older daughter’s ballet school. In recent years, Trump’s follow-through on his promises has been seemingly nonexistent.
The problem for Trump, as I see it, is that all of this feels absolutely true. Yes, Trump is a grifter. And a serial liar, who lies principally to aggrandize his image. I can so see how this became a thing of his and then snowballed to near criminal levels. Pretty soon, like a reflex, he couldn't talk about X or Y venture without mindlessly promising some associated charitable donation, and that grew to specific and outlandish promises.
Plus, this potentially isn't just about bad politics:
Politico, meanwhile, raised some related legal questions last week.
If Donald Trump’s claims that certain of his commercial ventures benefit charity are untrue, he could be held liable under Section 349 of New York’s General Business Law, which forbids deceptive business acts and practices, as well as under charitable solicitation laws, according to legal experts.
In promoting products as varied as Trump University, Trump Vodka, a Trump board game, and his new book “Crippled America,” the businessman has declared that the proceeds would go to charity. None of Trump’s proceeds from Trump University have gone to charity, and only a few hundred dollars of charitable giving related to Trump Vodka has been accounted for. News organizations have been unable to verify his other claims, and his representatives have been unwilling to provide more information about them or even to confirm them.
It is hard to believe that there is not at least one debilitating scandal in Trump's past. Now . . . of all things, he has the press (and maybe state attorney generals) scouring through decades of his charitable promises.
I can’t believe that this is going to end well for Mr. Trump or his campaign.