There is an old expression: live by the sword; die by the sword. In the case of presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump that may be paraphrased as: live by the media; die by the media.
While not alone in his efforts, David Fahrenthold has done a judicious and tenacious job of documenting Trump’s history of exaggerating (I’m being as kind as possible) his charitable contributions. This is not something unique to this campaign; it appears to date back decades.
Fahrenthold’s work was the catalyst that forced Trump to donate the $1 million he had very publicly pledged to veterans’ groups earlier this campaign. It is no wonder that Trump is feuding with Farenthold’s employer, the Washington Post. Obviously Trump never intended to give away the million.
Trump has a history of operating with OP (other people’s) money. There is the case of the Tim Tebow helmet which he donated to charity with great fanfare and much publicity. (The Donald loves publicity!) The only problem is that Trump had purchased the helmet not with his personal money, but with the funds of a charity he had some control over. It’s like me making a donation with your money and basking in the press it brought without crediting you. I don’t think Mr. Trump liked the whole truth that recently was revealed.
In 2004 Trump bragged to his friend Howard Stern on the latter’s radio show that he was donating the profits from his TV show The Apprentice to charity. He was sure to tell Stern that it was “A lot more than” $1 million. Yet reports show that only $107,000 was donated. Did Trump pocket the other $900,000, or was he grossly overstating the profits? In either event Trump, as usual, was far from completely truthful and recently the press reported it.
In the late 1980’s Trump made a lot of noise about donating the royalties from his book, The Art of the Deal, to charities benefiting the homeless, Vietnam veterans along with AIDS and MS victims. Only 8% of his charitable donations went to those causes; the other 92% went mainly to his alma maters, his children’s schools and social events.
I am of the school of thought that Trump has refused and will continue to refuse to release his tax returns because they will show he is nowhere near as wealthy as he claims to be. There is another school of thought that his main reason is that he does not want the public to know how little he has donated to charity. It would reveal too many stretches of the truth, (I’m being kind again). I’m currently seeking “double enrollment”.
An old political mentor of mine taught me a long time ago not to try and fight the press. The logic was: they buy ink by the barrel and newsprint by the carload. Trump mocked the press to be a sensation too tempting not to cover. It worked well until he insulted too many of them and they decided to pull what I call a Harry Truman on them – they told the truth on him.
This all reminds me of another old saw: liar, liar; pants on fire.
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