Last year, Donald Trump attended a rally hosted by his friend, Phil Ruffin. Ruffin owns the Treasure Island Casino in Las Vegas where the rally was held and introduced Trump to the crowd that had assembled. During the intro, he bragged about something good that that Trump did which at the time sounded incredible. As with so many of the “good” things that Trump does, if it sounds incredible it’s probably not true.
Huge shock, but this one turned out to be the largest lie Trump has ever told about his charitable donations, as you’ll see below.
Ruffin said the following:
“You won’t hear this in the media, but Donald gave $20 million to the St. Jude children’s home. Twenty million dollars.
The people cheered for Trump. Trump cheered for himself. He mouthed the words “Thank you” twice and waved as if ti say “Yeah, I really am this awesome.”
“He could have used that $20 million for television ads, but he decided to give with children with cancer. That’s Donald Trump,” Ruffin continued.
Trump didn’t bring up the “donation” again during his event, but later in the day he re-tweeted a comment someone else made on Twitter, criticizing the mainstream media for “censoring” the announcement by Ruffin out of it’s news coverage of the event.
This is a really important detail. If it really happened, this would have been the biggest singular charity donation of Trump’s entire life. However, a little digging shows that this never actually happened, even though Trump took credit for it.
Here’s the details:
St. Jude was contacted by reporters. They said while they don’t normally release information about it’s donors they could confirm they in no way announced a gift like this from Trump.
A spokeswoman for Ruffin, the guy who made the announcement on behalf of Trump, said that she could find absolutely no evidence, or any indicators anywhere, that would have made Ruffin believe this actually happened.
Trump’s nonprofit has donated to St. Jude’s in the past, but cash totals have been small – relatively speaking. The largest cash donation that was able to be found was $60,000, and other non-cash gifts spanning 5 years have totaled only $92,630. The non-cash donations were things like free rounds of golf, and other gift certificates at Trump-affiliated properties and such.
It also doesn’t help that Trump refuses to release his tax returns, so we won’t be able to actually see what he donated to anyone, anywhere, ever.
There’s absolutely nothing showing that Trump donated the kind of money for which he allowed himself to be credited.
Remember when I said that it would have been the single biggest donation Trump ever made in his life? That’s how you know it’s a lie — because Trump isn’t talking about it. Largest donation of his life? He wouldn’t be able shut the hell up about it if someone paid him money to be quiet.
There is one thing, though, and this may be where the whole story came from. Eric Trump, Donald’s son, has his own charity foundation which is separate from his father. While they have coordinated at times, usually with the use of Trump golf course facilities for charity events, they are separate entities. Tax forms for Eric’s foundation show that his father is not on the board, or in any other way a managing partner of the organization.
In February 2015, just a few months before Ruffin made his comments, Eric Trump’s foundation got the naming rights to a surgical and intensive care center at St. Jude’s. The price they paid for this? Raising $20 million over the next 10 years for St. Jude’s.
And so the other shoe drops… Not only did Trump have absolutely zero to do with this whole St. Jude’s thing, but in a bid to be lower than a snake’s belly, he actually stole the credit for it from his own son. Letting his own yuppie villain son use a freakin’ golf course now and then for his charity games is not “donating $20 million” in any way.