Donald Trump has always made a big deal of how generous he is. In fact, he’s been so loud about his generosity that he is like the guy Jesus had in mind when he warned us in Matthew 6:2-4:
Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
“I don’t think I’m greedy,” Donald Trump told Playboy in 1990. “If I were, I wouldn’t give to charities.”
“I give millions for charity each year,” he told Playboy.
“I do give millions of dollars a year, but I do it personally. I just write checks and give it away,” Trump told Playboy.
In short, Trump has made his self-declared philanthropy a part of his personal “brand.” But when queried about his contributions, he has always refused to provide any precise information or documentation and falls back on wanting to keep his giving private.
In response to BuzzFeed News’s request for comment, Hicks, the press secretary for the Trump campaign, sent the following statement: “Your information is totally incorrect — he makes contributions personally and there’s no way for you to know or understand what those gifts are or when they are made. We appreciate your interest in his charitable giving, which is generous and frequent.”
We’ve covered the saga of Trump’s charitable contributions here at RedState insofar as it applied to his pledge to raise “over $6 million” for veterans organizations back in February
(here | here | here | here | here). Trump was finally shamed into giving the money he had pledged to veterans groups when a Washington Post reporter, David Fahrenthold, began inquiring with veterans groups to see if they had received any cash from either Trump, personally, or from his “charitable foundation.”
Now Fahrenthold has cast a wider net. He has contacted over 100 groups to which Donald Trump claims to have given money. His findings are very similar to what he found with the veterans contributions. They simply don’t exist. (I’ve Storified the coming story at the bottom of this post.)
Trump claims to give money via donations to his personal foundation. Since 2009, Donald Trump has not given a single cent to his foundation. In fact, since 2009 he has given between $5,000 and $9,999… and we can bet which end of that range the actual contribution fell.
What this means is that far from being generous, in the seven years covered in Farhrenthold’s research (2009-2015) Donald Trump actually gave less to charity that the average income tax filer in the United States.
Objectively, no one should care if Trump gives a red cent to charity because it is his money. BUT if he claims to be a major philanthropist and uses that as a campaign claim then we do have a right to demand proof. Trump refuses to release his Form 1040 but he could put this matter to rest by releasing his Schedule A and redacting everything but lines 16 through 19.