Today, Donald Trump promised that he would be donating $1 million in personal funds to Hurricane Harvey relief.
Tellingly, he didn’t specify which organizations would receive the contributions. It could be because – as White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders claims – Trump is listening to suggestions for the best place to send the money.
Past behavior though, would offer a different explanation. Trump has previously promised to donate to other causes, only to then fail to deliver or deliver less than he said he would. A previous report from The Hill states that of the $6 million Trump collected for veterans, only $3 million of it had been delivered.
A different report, this one from The Washington Post shows that Trump’s claims to have donated millions of dollars to charity consistently for decades are a gross exaggeration of reality. His failure to release his tax returns – in addition to helping shield him from revelations about possible foreign entanglements and financial irregularities – has helped him cloud the reality of his charity contributions.
“In the 1980s, Trump pledged to give away royalties from his first book to fight AIDS and multiple sclerosis. But he gave less to those causes than he did to his older daughter’s ballet school,” writes David A. Fahrenthold of The Post.
Additionally, The Post reached out to 188 charities to confirm if they had indeed received Trump’s promised donations. During the time period in which they checked, they could only confirm a single donation worth somewhere between $5,000 and $9,999, a far cry from the millions Trump has bragged about.
Clearly, Trump has a long history of making charity promises and then refusing to honor them. He loves the immediate surge of adulation he gets when announcing a big contribution, but he is loathe to actually reach into his pockets to help his fellow man.
Whether he or not he will follow through on his Hurricane Harvey relief remains to be seen, but regardless it’s important to remember all the times in the past when he’s failed to do so.
Rob Haffey is a writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.