Donald Trump reportedly once duped poor kids at a New York City school with a fake $1 million bill and then offered to take a few students shopping for sneakers.
In 1997, Trump participated in a principal-for-a-day program at P.S. 70 in the Bronx. The school had a 97 percent poverty rate at the time, David MacEnulty, the former chess coach at the school, wrote Thursday in a Medium post.
Trump stopped by a bake sale the chess team was hosting to raise money to go to a tournament, The Washington Post and The New York Times first reported. As a joke, he handed a fake $1 million bill to the parents running it.
It was awkward and the parents were embarrassed, MacEnulty told The Huffington Post. The self-described billionaire apparently then gave two $100 bills to the team, which still needed to raise $5,000.
This odd incident is just one example of Trump’s often-exaggerated record of philanthropic giving that the Post has detailed.
Trump also met with fifth-grade students that day, according to MacEnulty, and told them he would hold a lottery so that one class could buy sneakers at the Nike store in Trump Tower.
The real estate mogul followed up on the promise to buy shoes, MacEnulty told HuffPost. But the students had to convince him to buy sneakers for the entire grade rather than hold a lottery that would benefit only a few kids.
Although the kids were enthusiastic about the idea of getting new shoes, one 11-year-old asked Trump when he visited the school, “Why did you offer us sneakers if you could give us scholarships?” Trump didn’t have an answer, according to MacEnulty, and also joked during the meeting that Trump Tower was in the “inner city called 57th and Fifth” ― referring to its location in Manhattan, which is known for high-end stores.
“His view of our students’ hopes and aspirations was clearly mired in a ghetto stereotype,” MacEnulty wrote in his Medium post. “As our (real) principal sardonically said later: ‘Why didn’t he just bring the watermelon?’”
“He was winging it all the way, and he was in an environment he simply did not understand. Nor, it appeared, did he care to,” he added. “Recently, a lot has come out about Trump’s appeals to racist thought. From our interaction that day, I have to say, that part of his character has been in place for a long time.”
Trump has insisted that he is “the least racist person you’ve ever met.” However, he launched his campaign by calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals, has been sued by the Department of Justice for discriminating against African-Americans and is the preferred candidate of white nationalists.
Trump’s visit to P.S. 70 did have a happy ending for the chess team. After a woman read about the businessman’s behavior in The New York Times, she donated the remaining $5,000.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.