Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold has been researching Donald Trump's charitable efforts throughout the election season. His comprehensive essay on what those efforts turned up reads like a Dickensian satire. Not only are Trump's charitable efforts few, far between, and almost exclusively self-serving, his attempts to play the role of a philanthropist without doing the philanthropy part seem like a far more malevolent version of an Andy Kaufman prank.
The highlight of the piece, without question, is the story of Donald Trump showing up at a charity event for the Association to Benefit Children, strolling onto the stage, and plopping himself down in the seat reserved for one of the event's real top donors.
Trump was not a major donor. He was not a donor, period. He’d never given a dollar to the nursery or the Association to Benefit Children, according to Gretchen Buchenholz, the charity’s executive director then and now.
But now he was sitting in Fisher’s seat, next to Giuliani. [...]
Afterward, Disney and Buchenholz recalled, Trump left without offering an explanation. Or a donation. Fisher was stuck in the audience. The charity spent months trying to repair its relationship with him.
Rather than ejecting Trump from the podium in front of the audience and causing a scene, they let him stay; their reward was not one thin dime from the billionaire before he trundled off again, apparently under the assumption that his shining presence was all the benefit those children needed.
Looking back, it was yet another case where if only someone had humiliated Trump in the manner he deserved rather than gritting their teeth and putting up with his asininities, it would have saved America a lot of time down the road. The same dynamic would play out in the press and in the Republican primaries twenty years later. The stupid and stingy man strolls onto the national stage like he owns the place, and everyone is too concerned with keeping up the appearances of a serious election to point out that the buffoon hasn't done a thing in his life that would suggest he deserves to be there and can't string together more than ten words in defense of his new hobby as political savior-of-the-moment. We really need to be crueler to our moneyed stupid people; the nation is not their therapist.
The rest of Fahrenthold's piece is equally good and revealing, and we should take a moment here again to recognize that there is no damn way he should end up with less than a Pulitzer for his efforts. He by himself did what all the arrayed forces of cable television could not: He asked whether Trump's on-stage claims about his past were true, and then tasked himself with finding out.
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