Thursday, August 31, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He said he intended to donate $1 million to Harvey relief.

Millions of Americans have made donations to charities that are assisting with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and today, via a spokesperson, Trump said he would become one of them. Specifically, Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that he would donate $1m. When pressed by a reporter to clarify whether this was his own money, Sanders hesitated, saying that she "assumed" it was.

There's reason for skepticism. Trump's former "charity," which collected donations from other people but only rarely and begrudgingly honored its own pledges, is under investigation by New York State officials for a host of possible crimes. It has already admitted to illegal self-dealing. But even with the ignominious demise of his foundation--to say nothing of several similarly troubling schemes involving his adult children--Trump has relished playing the role of a benefactor, showily donating his presidential paychecks to government agencies whose budgets he proposes to cut.

Former Office of Government Ethics chief Walter Schaub summarized it this way:

So what?

  • It's bad if a president's claim that he intends to do something nice is greeted with enormous skepticism.