President Trump has pledged to donate $1 million from his personal coffers to aid storm victims in Texas and Louisiana.
During the daily White House briefing on Thursday, a reporter asked press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders what Trump and the first family have done, personally, to contribute to Harvey relief. The hurricane has, thus far, taken a reported 38 lives, and it could have an estimated $190 billion impact on our country’s GDP.
“There’s obviously been a huge outpouring of support from people all around the country for the victims of Harvey,” the reporter said. “You’ve seen people lining up to volunteer, you’ve seen people donating tens of millions of dollars. Can you speak to what the president and his family have done, regarding donations for Harvey relief, personally?”
Sanders replied, “I spoke directly with the president earlier, and I am happy to tell you that he would like to join in the efforts that a lot of the people that we’ve seen across the country do, and he’s pledging a million dollars of personal money to the fund.”
Sanders noted that the president has not decided when or where he will send the donation, and he was interested in what members of the press corps might suggest. You may recall, he did the same thing when he was deciding where to donate his presidential salary. Back then, the journalists all thought the money should go towards their own organizations. He ended up giving the second quarter of his salary to the Department of Education, where it will help fund a camp to promote science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers.
Sanders told reporters on Thursday, “He actually asked that I check with the folks in this room, since you are very good at research and have been doing a lot of reporting into the groups and organizations that are best and most effective in helping and providing aid, and he’d love some suggestions from the folks here and I’d be happy to take those.”
President Trump’s pledge is one of the largest financial commitments made by a sitting president to a charitable cause.
Of course, in their quest to find a way to further the narrative that the president is somehow up to no good, even when he’s being generous and helpful, Huckabee was grilled regarding from where exactly his donation would come. Huckabee admitted that she didn’t know whether the donation would come from the Trump’s foundation or President Trump’s personal bank account, saying only that it would come from the president’s “personal” funds.
The size of President Trump’s fortune has been a topic of ferocious debate, with the president estimating it at more than $10 billion; but his critics purport to know better, claiming that it’s much lower. Bloomberg estimates the amount to be around $3 billion.
Either way, Donald Trump is the wealthiest man to ever lead our country.
The president has immersed himself in the unfolding disaster in Texas, having traveled to both Corpus Christi and Austin on Tuesday (along with First Lady Melania Trump). He is tentatively planning to visit the Houston area, as well as Louisiana, on Saturday, according to Sanders.
The president’s trip to Corpus Christi consisted of meetings with local, state and federal officials in a city that was largely spared by the lashing rains and historic flooding that ravaged Rockport, Galveston, Port Arthur and Houston. Hurricane Harvey made its initial landfall in the Corpus Christi area, but it grew as it moved northward towards Houston and Louisiana. Still alive and kicking, Tropical Storm Harvey is currently making its way through the mid-western states, and will head towards Pittsburgh, Pa., on Saturday.
Reporters are looking for any way they can to dump on President Trump as he does an amazing job caring for the victims of the hurricane in person.
In a tweet, he said, “After witnessing first hand the horror & devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey, my heart goes out even more so to the great people of Texas!” Reporters bashed the tweet, saying he saw little of the damage. However, they apparently forgot that he often had a birds-eye view from the air, as well as a sweeping view of the devastation from crews on the ground. After all, he is there.
After witnessing first hand the horror & devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey,my heart goes out even more so to the great people of Texas!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 30, 2017
After Sanders announced the president’s donation, social media reactions were generally positive. However, some journalists immediately looked for something negative to report.
“Just when Trump will give that money remains to be seen: He pledged to donate the same amount to veterans’ charities last year, but only did so once reporters looked into it months later,” reported USA Today.
Outspoken Trump haters, including MSNBC host Joy Reid, New York Times Magazine contributor and Wonkette founding editor Ana Marie Cox, Mother Jones editor in chief Clara Jeffery, and an opinion writer for Rolling Stone, among others, all took to Twitter to bash the president’s contribution.
People are kind of … well, skeptical … that Trump is gonna hand over that million-dollar Harvey donation. https://t.co/J5L4HN6k4f
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) September 1, 2017
Tony Schwartz, the co-author of President Trump’s bestselling book, “Art of the Deal,” tweeted Friday, saying he doesn’t believe Trump will follow through with his pledge to donate $1 million of his own money to aid in Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts.
“No way Trump donates $1m of own money to Harvey victims. He only promises to give. Never actually does,” said the author, whose book with Trump describes the president’s work in real estate and famed reputation for deal-making.
No way Trump donates $1m of own money to Harvey victims. He only promises to give. Never actually does.
— Tony Schwartz (@tonyschwartz) September 1, 2017