President-elect Donald Trump took to Twitter Monday night to defend his charitable foundation, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, just two days after announcing he will dissolve it.
In the posts, Mr. Trump says he gave “millions of dollars” to the Trump Foundation. He also said that all of the money goes “to wonderful charities,” a claim for which there is little to no evidence:
Despite Mr. Trump’s assertion that he has given “millions of dollars” to the Trump Foundation, news reports have indicated that Mr. Trump vastly oversells his charitable giving. And since he has not released his tax returns, it’s impossible to verify how much money he has given to charity.
According to the Washington Post, Mr. Trump has given only one traceable personal donation since 2008 -- for $10,000, to the Police Athletic League of New York City. As for the Trump Foundation, Mr. Trump has given $5.5 million to the group since its inception -- but has not contributed to it since 2008, meaning the organization has largely been funded by other people in recent years.
In addition, several reports have established that Mr. Trump used money from the foundation to help further his political interests. The Washington Post reported, for example, that Mr. Trump used foundation funds to settle legal disputes -- and even to buy two large portraits of himself, one of which hung on the wall of a Trump-owned golf resort. He paid a $2,500 fine to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) earlier this year after it was revealed that his foundation made a $25,000 political contribution that violated tax laws.
The series of tweets came just two days after Mr. Trump announced he would be shuttering the foundation in the wake of questions about possible conflicts of interest.
Mr. Trump said in a Christmas Eve statement that he has directed his counsel to begin taking steps toward dissolving the foundation; however, it cannot formally shut down until the New York state attorney general’s office completes its investigation of the foundation.
“To avoid even the appearance of any conflict with my role as President I have decided to continue to pursue my strong interest in philanthropy in other ways,” Mr. Trump said in his statement.
Mr. Trump’s tweets about the Trump Foundation also came just hours after he insisted on Twitter that there was “no way” President Obama could have beaten him in a hypothetical 2016 election between the two men, and criticized the United Nations for not living up to its “great potential.”