As promised late last week, President Trump gave $1 million of his own money to charities helping the Houston area recover from Hurricane Harvey. He has divided up the gift among 12 separate non-profits, the White House announced on Wednesday.
The White House noted that President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump had firsthand experience with some of the charities listed, after making two visits to areas of Texas affected by the hurricane, which will now be entered into history books as the biggest rainstorm recorded in the continental U.S., last week
Several of the other charities were “recommended, at the invitation of the President, by members of the White House Press Corps,” the White House statement said.
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 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 continued: “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.”
Some of the reporters took them up on the request.
President Trump’s pledge is one of the largest financial commitments made by a sitting president to a charitable cause.
The next-largest gifts went to charities associated with Christian ministries.
The White House said Trump would give $100,000 to Samaritan’s Purse, an evangelical Christian aid agency run by Franklin Graham, the son of famed evangelist Billy Graham. Franklin Graham has been a key political supporter of President Trump’s. The Examiner pointed out that last month, while Trump was under fire for his comments about the violence in Charlottesville, Graham publicly defended Trump and said the blame lay instead with Satan, for “evil in men’s hearts.” Vice President Pence also met with Samaritan’s Purse volunteers during his separate trip to hurricane-ravaged areas.
The remaining gifts, which were all for $25,000 each, will go to:
- Operation Blessing International, a faith-based disaster-relief charity based in Virginia Beach
- Catholic Charities
- The Houston Humane Society
- The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
- Team Rubicon, a charity that sends teams of military veterans to help in disaster zones
- Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategies, a nonprofit that focuses on helping those with disabilities
- Direct Relief, a medical-aid group which has shipped doses of medicines and vaccines — all of which must be kept cold — to flood-ravaged areas in Texas
Last summer, after devastating floods in Baton Rouge, President Trump gave a $100,000 donation to Greenwell Springs Baptist Church, which was helping residents in the affected area.
Since taking office, the president has also made good on promises to donate his presidential salary. The first quarter’s salary, which totaled $78,333, was donated to the National Park Service for the maintenance of historic battlefields. His second quarter’s salary was given to the Department of Education to help fund a science camp.
Here’s a copy of the president’s official statement, which ran on the WhiteHouse.gov website on Wednesday:
Statement on President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump’s Personal Donation to Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts
President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump announced today a personal donation of $1 million dollars to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts and have designated twelve organizations to receive contributions. The President and First Lady witnessed the work of some of these groups first hand while visiting with hurricane survivors, first responders, volunteers, and Federal, State, and local officials, and are proud to further assist the recovery efforts in Texas. Several of the following organizations were recommended, at the invitation of the President, by members of the White House Press Corps, and he would like to thank those who made recommendations for their attention to this important cause. The President and First Lady continue to pray for the people of Texas and Louisiana.
- Reach out America – $100,000
- Red Cross – $300,000
- Salvation Army – $300,000
- Samaritan’s Purse – $100,000
- ASPCA – $25,000
- Catholic Charities – $25,000
- Direct Relief – $25,000
- Habitat for Humanity – $25,000
- Houston Humane Society – $25,000
- Operation Blessing – $25,000
- Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategies – $25,000
- Team Rubicon – $25,000