Washington Monthly | No Other President Would Have Survived Defrauding Veterans’ Charities
So it has come to pass with a New York judge’s ruling Thursday that the president had misused money given to the Donald J. Trump Foundation and, as part of a settlement, will have to pay $2 million in damages. Not only did he use the money for himself, including the purchase of a 6-foot-tall portrait of None Other, but he also filled the board of directors with family members (the usual suspects: Ivanka, Donald Jr. and Eric) and at least one officer, Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, who didn’t know he was even on the board, according to court documents.
The man who popularized “fake news” apparently also invented a fake charity. They’re tons of fun until you get caught. But there was nothing fake about the money Trump spent that was intended for others.
In addition to the portrait, for which he paid $10,000 (albeit at an auction for another charity) but which later hung in his Doral golf resort in Miami, Trump’s other charitable interests included about $250,000 to settle lawsuits involving his for-profit business. Best of all, he used $12,000 from the charity to buy a jersey and a helmet autographed by then-Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow.
Our eyes glaze over reading this stuff because…well, it’s Donald Trump. But that’s only because our sense of moral outrage has become deadened by his behavior. Try, if you can, to imagine that Barack Obama had raised money for veterans only to spend it on a giant portrait of himself and a bunch of sports memorabilia. It would have singlehandedly destroyed his presidency and would likely have forced his resignation. George W. Bush was certainly no saint, and his administration was guilty of misdeeds of horrendous consequence. But he would never have been so tawdry and venal as to steal money from veterans for such things. If he had, it would likely have ended his presidency. Same for Clinton, Bush Senior, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter. None of them would have survived such a revelation.