The Donald J. Trump foundation is supposed to be a charity.
But reporting by the Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold has revealed that it frequently acted as Trump’s personal piggy bank.
Charities are prohibited from making political contributions or self-dealing. Trump, however, used his foundation’s cash to make an illegal $25,000 donation to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. Through his foundation he also purchased two large portraits of himself for $30,000 and a Tim Tebow helmet for for $12,000.
Trump spent another $120,000 from the foundation to purchase a luxury trip to France, including a dinner with actor Salma Hayek. (An aide told BuzzFeed he never went on the trip.)
The lastest report detailed $250,000 in foundation assets Trump used to settle legal disputes involving his for-profit business ventures.
Trump has not held a press conference since July. But he was finally asked about the misuse of his foundation’s cash by a local reporter in Columbus, Ohio.
It did not go well.
Trump was asked to “explain to people why you may have used some charitable donations for personal uses.”
“The foundation is really rare. It gives money to vets. It’s really been doing a good job,” Trump replied.
He added that “we put that to sleep just by putting out the last report.”
That was his entire response.
It’s unclear what “report” Trump is referencing and how it put the controversy “to sleep.” But Trump has not responded substantively to the controversy, which may have involved multiple violations of tax laws.
His campaign did issue a rambling statement dismissing the reports on the foundation as “peppered with inaccuracies and omissions from a biased reporter.”