Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his campaign have repeatedly attacked Hillary Clinton over her ties to the Clinton Foundation. They’ve gone as far as accusing the Democratic nominee and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, of trading government access and favors in exchange for cash during her tenure at the State Department.
But when pressed about allegations surrounding the GOP candidate’s own charitable giving via his charity, the Trump Foundation, the campaign would rather look the other way and dismiss legitimate questions from the press.
“I don’t see it as journalism,” Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway told CNN on Tuesday, when asked why the campaign was withholding evidence of the candidate’s charitable giving. “I see it as badgering. In other words, we’ve had this conversation so many different times on so many different networks and yet we’re not having conversation about what the middle class tax relief would actually mean for people’s wage stagnation.”
The Washington Post’s David A. Fahrenthold revealed Saturday that nearly all donations made to the Trump Foundation since 2008 had actually come from people other than the real estate businessman. Trump had distributed the money to various organizations, often under the impression it was under his name. The Post investigation follows a report that the former reality TV personality made an illegal campaign contribution of $25,000 via his foundation in support of Florida’s attorney general Pam Bondi days before she dropped an investigation into Trump University ― in what appears to be an actual example of pay-to-play.
Asked to provide evidence that Trump had indeed given “millions” in charity ― as his vice presidential nominee Mike Pence claimed on Monday ― Conway responded by accusing Clinton of failing to provide enough information about her own health after she was diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday.
“Did anybody ask Hillary Clinton for evidence that she was over heated and dehydrated? Is anybody asking her for evidence of why she thinks she’s so precious and special that she would have the Secret Service break protocol at Ground Zero on Sunday, and take her to her daughter’s apartment rather than a hospital?” Conway said on CNN.
Conway maintained that Trump had been “incredibly generous” over the course of his life “with his own money and his foundation’s money,” which she insisted was “his money.”
“Donald Trump is a very generous man,” Conway added. “And to employ tens of thousands of people from different countries, both genders certainly, from all walks of life over the years.”
“That’s not charity,” noted CNN host Alisyn Camerota. “Employment is not charity.”
A simple way to substantiate the Trump campaign’s claims about charitable giving would be to release the candidate’s tax returns. In his refusal to do so, Trump would become the first major-party nominee since 1976 not to release any returns.
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.