Eric Trump: I'm Not Saying Dad DIDN'T Donate to My Foundation, But I'm Not Saying he Did, Either

As I always say when I write about these stories, I don’t care what Donald Trump does with his money. It would make no difference to me if he gave zero dollars to charity (as he apparently usually does).

I would also be okay if Trump gave lots of money to charity, and was super tight-lipped about it. Like, if Trump had never brought up charitable giving at all, and the press came knocking, demanding to know if he ever gave money to charity, and Trump said, “that’s none of your business,” I would totally defend that. I think the most virtuous thing a person can do is give to charity and then not tell anyone about it. That’s even a biblical principle. I’m pretty sure it’s in Two Corinthians somewhere.

The issue is that he constantly brags about giving money to charity as evidence that he is a generous and virtuous person. Then, apparently, having reaped the rewards of public adulation, he never actually gives any of his money away. And when the press comes calling, asking for information to back up his bragging, he says, “Oh, I do all that in private, it’s none of your business.”

That’s scummy behavior. That’s actually one of the most despicable things you can do. And it’s so duplicitous that it reveals a personal character that just cannot be trusted with the White House. What makes it even worse is that evidence is mounting that Trump has used Trump Foundation money – that is, money that was donated by other people for ostensibly charitable purposes – to buy himself personal trinkets and dates with Selma Hayek (not kidding).

Anyway, so the Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold did some research and found that over the years, Trump has publicly claimed to have given away more than $8.5 million to charity.  He began to try to track down some of these donations by calling charities with which Trump claimed a personal relationship, or charities with which his foundation had a relationship, and was only able to find one very small donation from 2009.

In response to Fahrenthold’s digging, Eric Trump (who has his own charitable foundation) called up Fahrenthold and exploded on him in a profane rant about Fahrenthold’s reporting. During the course of this rant, Eric Trump claimed that his dad had given “hundreds and hundreds of thousands” of dollars of his own money to the Eric Trump foundation. Get it? Eric Trump volunteered this information. Fahrenthold said, “Great! This is exactly the sort of proof I’ve been looking for! Can you provide some receipts?” Eric Trump, not surprisingly, said “no.”

This week, Eric Trump’s tune on these alleged donations has changed yet again (surprisingly!) and he can now no longer say with certainty any single instance in which his father has donated to his foundation. He’s not saying dad has NOT donated to his foundation, mind you, just that he can’t prove or remember that he HAS:

As the day went on, Eric Trump was pressed to explain the contrast with his own statements from a few days before.

Why had he asserted that his father had given his charity hundreds of thousands of dollars, if now he didn’t remember it ever happening?

“Just to be clear, I never said no,” Eric Trump wrote in a late-evening email on Monday, meaning he hadn’t said that Donald Trump had not given the Eric Trump Foundation a personal gift.

But Eric Trump said he was too busy to look for evidence that would back up his earlier statements: “I have a lot going on — I just don’t have the time. Good luck with the story,” he wrote.

Now to be clear, the article goes on to reflect that Eric Trump was able to provide proof that Donald Trump’s foundation provided gifts to his, but that money does not come from Trump. Trump himself has not donated to the foundation bearing his name in years. Eric Trump was also able to point to a remarkably detailed list of in-kind gifts that Trump’s companies have given his foundation (like access to Trump golf courses, free rounds of golf, etc.). In fact, exactly the sort of accounting that leads one to believe that Eric Trump is very on top of what his father has done for his charity.

But oddly, he cannot recall a single instance of his father actually cutting him a personal check, as he claimed. But he’s not saying it didn’t happen. It’s just that anyone with a brain knows by now that it never actually happened.

And if Eric Trump, Donald Trump’s own son, hasn’t gotten personal donations from dad, what are the chances that anyone else has?