Donald Trump likes to brag about being charitable. However, his actual contributions don’t match his lofty rhetoric. The Washington Post‘s David A. Fahrenthold has spent much of the months leading up to the 2016 presidential election looking into the Trump Foundation as it pertains to Trump’s own charitable giving.
On Saturday, Fahrenthold reported a story of a 1996 Manhattan ribbon-cutting ceremony for a charity called the Association to Benefit Children. The association was celebrating the grand opening of a nursery school that would serve children with AIDS. According to the Post, Trump unexpectedly appeared at the event and took a seat on the dais alongside top donors such as then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former mayor David Dinkins. The seat he took was saved for Steven Fisher, a developer who had donated a hefty sum to help the charity build the nursery.
“Nobody knew he was coming,” Abigail Disney, another donor sitting on the dais, told the Post. “There’s this kind of ruckus at the door, and I don’t know what was going on, and in comes Donald Trump. [He] just gets up on the podium and sits down.” Trump had never donated to the charity.
By the time Trump took Fisher’s chair, the event was already underway and it was too late to correct the seating chart. According to the Post, “Once he was onstage, Trump played the part of a big donor convincingly. Photos from the event show Trump smiling, right behind Giuliani, as the mayor cut the ribbon.” Trump later performed the macarena with Giuliani, Kathie Lee Gifford, and crowd of children, and then slipped out of the function without donating.
The next day, Gretchen Buchenholz, the executive director of the Association to Benefit Children, sent Fisher an email apologizing for Trump’s seat-jack. “I am just heartsick,” she wrote. “I immediately said ‘no,’ but Rudy Giuliani said ‘yes’ and I felt I had to accede to him. I hope you can forgive me.” Buchenholz told the Post that Fisher remained a donor despite Trump’s actions.
(Via The Washington Post)