By Steve Bernstein:Occupy Democrat
Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, is famously noted as a thin-skinned hothead who will say anything to grab a headline, and he is a serial liar. Given Trump’s penchant for saying almost anything, no one should be surprised that in December, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-check site Politifact honored him with its 2015 Lie of the Year award. Additionally, when Politifact evaluated several dozen of Trump’s statements as a presidential candidate earlier this year the site found just 8% were true or mostly true utterances-and a whopping 92% of those statements were less than truthful.
The Washington Post recently revealed that $6 million Trump claimed to have raised in a January 2016 fundraiser for veterans groups was another lie. So it should surprise no one that today, The Huffington Post revealed that the whereabouts of proceeds from the recent sale of his books, which he promised to give to charity are also suspicious.
Customers who bought Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again were led to believe that Trump was giving their money to charity.
“Several reviews on Amazon laud the billionaire for his supposed generosity. One review emphatically thanks Trump for ‘Donating Proceeds To Vet Charities!!!’ Another declares, ‘The proceeds from the sales of this book go to Veterans!’”
However, The Huffington Post notes “it not clear how much or if any of the money from the sales of the book was ever donated to veterans or to any charitable groups.”
It is reported that Trump sold 200,000 copies of his book since it went on sale last year, and he reported that he earned between $1 million and $5 million in royalties from its sale. The Huffington Post says it “reached out to members of Trump’s presidential campaign and to two senior executives of his company and the book’s publisher, Simon and Schuster, to ask how the proceeds of this book were being distributed to charities. No one responded to our inquiries.”
While it is possible that Trump plans to donate the book proceeds to charity, the recent episode involving the veteran’s groups makes one wonder. People may suspect a sinister motive here, wondering if the term “charity” was merely used as marketing ploy to spur people to part with their hard-earned money.
As part of the fundraiser for veterans, it should be noted that Trump asked the public “to join him in donating money to vets through a website that funneled money to Trump’s private charitable organization, The Donald J Trump Foundation.” People donated more than $1.6 million through the website, but as HuffPost reported earlier in the year “Trump has not personally donated to the Donald J. Trump Foundation since 2009. Instead, the charity has been funded by people with whom Trump does business.” At that time, Trump claimed he personally gave $1 million, but as we learned from The Washington Post story, he did not do that until last week after tenacious investigative reporters dug deep into the facts of the case and his sham was uncovered and disclosed.
Let us not forget the defunct and now-infamous Trump University, which Trump had claimed was a charitable endeavor-even though it’s been reported that Trump pocketed $5 million before it closed down, amid allegations of fraud. The endeavor is facing multiple civil and criminal charges. Trump told Time magazine’s Steven Brill “all money that [Trump] made was going to go to charity…he was launching the program as a way of leaving a legacy.”
Well, it appears the actual legacy Trump is leaving, as made clear by recently released internal documents from Trump University, is of a program designed to hook vulnerable people into paying up to $35,000, ostensibly so they could learn Donald Trump’s secrets to financial success. In short, Trump U. was about as charitable as a Las Vegas casino.” And this is the man – a serial liar, a racist, xenophobic, reality-TV star, casino-owner-turned-presidential-candidate – the Republicans would have us vote for as president of the United States.