Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold published the results of his months-long, Pulitzer-worthy investigation of GOP nominee Donald Trump's fake charity and it includes several stories he previously reported on, but also many more new stories we're seeing for the first time.
His investigation, which you can read here, has revealed many amazing and appalling things, but these two anecdotes among many others stood out the most to me.
In 1997, for instance, he was “principal for a day” at a public school in an impoverished area of the Bronx. The chess team was holding a bake sale, Hot & Crusty danishes and croissants. They were $5,000 short of what they needed to travel to a tournament.
Trump had brought something to wow them.
“He handed them a fake million-dollar bill,” said David MacEnulty, a teacher and the chess team’s coach.
The team’s parent volunteers were thrilled.
Trump then gave them $200 in real money and drove away in a limousine.
The Trump Foundation gave $50,000 in 1995, and another $50,000 in 1999, to a nonprofit called the National Museum of Catholic Art and History.
Those gifts, not previously reported, seemed like an odd choice for big charitable dollars.
The museum was housed for much of the 1990s in a former headquarters for “Fat Tony” Salerno of the Genovese crime family in East Harlem. It had few visitors and little art. A Village Voice reporter, visiting in 2001, said the collection included a photo of the pope, some nun dolls bought from the Home Shopping Network, and — just off the dining room — “a black Jacuzzi decorated with simmering candles, gold-plated soap dishes, and kitsch angel figurines.”
Trump is not Catholic.
There are other equally amazing stories, such as one about Trump crashing a fundraiser for kids with AIDS and then leaving without donating a single dime.
We can infer many things about Trump himself, but this deeply-reported investigation also reveals that government oversight of non-profits and charities is sorely lacking. Trump has been getting away with it for decades and it appears that no one bothered to take a close look at his actions until 2016.