Confronted on live TV with Donald Trump’s incredibly scarce record of charitable donations, his campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said the Trump campaign itself was effectively an philanthropic gift.
CNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell and Andrew Ross Sorkin asked Conway about the work of Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold, who called more than 420 charities with a ties to the GOP presidential nominee ― and found only one gift of less than $10,000 that Trump had given between 2008 and spring 2016.
Conway replied that it simply wasn’t true. “He’s a very generous man, I’ve seen him write checks,” she said. “I’ve been there when he’s writing checks to people.”
Then she said Trump’s campaign itself is proof of his charity. “The fact is, that the idea that somebody who has made such a tremendous sacrifice to run for president ― basically, a huge sacrifice ― didn’t need the money, didn’t need the fame, didn’t need the power, didn’t need the status. And you’ve got a lot of deals that didn’t get done, I’m sure, in the Trump Corporation because the guy at the top is running for president,” she said.
He’s a very generous man, I’ve seen him write checks. Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway
Conway did not name the organizations she had personally seen Trump donate to, nor did she specify if that money came out of his own pocket. (In the past, Trump has donated money from his foundation that comes from other donors, giving the impression that he is making the donation.) The Huffington Post’s Christina Wilkie and the Post have also reported that Trump channeled money into his charity that tax experts think should have been declared as income, allowing him to save on his tax bill while making what seemed to be personal charitable contributions.
The Trump campaign did not reply to HuffPost’s questions about checks Conway saw Trump write and whether they were personal contributions.
Conway’s insistence that Trump’s campaign itself is evidence of his generosity is odd, given the reports of how he has funneled campaign money into his own companies and ventures.
For instance, Trump increased the rent fivefold on the Trump Tower space he was using as campaign headquarters ― after the campaign started accepting donors’ money, HuffPost’s S.V. Date reported. The campaign has also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars at Trump’s golf courses and restaurants and on copies of his book, and has paid for the candidate to fly in a plane he owns that’s operated by his company. He’s plowing millions of dollars of donors’ money back into his companies when cheaper alternatives exist.
The business mogul seems to have made a clear choice about how he spends his campaign donors’ money ― and charity doesn’t appear to have much to do with it.
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.