Trump Acknowledges Climate Change — At His Golf Course

Donald Trump says he is “not a big believer in global warming.” He has called it “a total hoax,” “bullshit” and “pseudoscience.”

But he is also trying to build a sea wall designed to protect one of his golf courses from “global warming and its effects.”

The New York billionaire is applying for permission to erect a coastal protection works to prevent erosion at his seaside golf resort, Trump International Golf Links & Hotel Ireland, in County Clare.

A permit application for the wall, filed by Trump International Golf Links Ireland and reviewed by POLITICO, explicitly cites global warming and its consequences — increased erosion due to rising sea levels and extreme weather this century — as a chief justification for building the structure.

The zoning application raises further questions about how the billionaire developer would confront a risk he has publicly minimized but that has been identified as a defining challenge of this era by world leaders, global industry and the American military. His public disavowal of climate science at the same time he moves to secure his own holdings against the effects of climate change also illustrates the conflict between his political rhetoric and the realities of running a business with seaside assets in the 21st century.

“It’s diabolical,” said former South Carolina Republican Rep. Bob Inglis, an advocate of conservative solutions to climate change. “Donald Trump is working to ensure his at-risk properties and his company is trying to figure out how to deal with sea level rise. Meanwhile, he’s saying things to audiences that he must know are not true. … You have a soft place in your heart for people who are honestly ignorant, but people who are deceitful, that’s a different thing.”

Neither Trump’s spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, nor Alan Garten, the general counsel of the Trump Organization, the umbrella company for Trump’s business ventures, responded to requests for comment.

For years, owners of seaside assets, investors, and industries like reinsurance have been busily adapting to and hedging against climate change – a reality widely acknowledged by the world’s top business leaders.

“If you’re being responsible you are protecting your property and investing in these things,” said Cynthia McHale, director of the insurance program at Ceres, a nonprofit that works with businesses and institutional investors to promote sustainability. “It’s certainly best practice.” But McHale added that many commercial developers of seaside properties fail to account for climate change in their decisions because they are focused on short time horizons.

Trump snatched up the golf resort from a distressed buyer in February 2014, after a winter in which an unusual number of severe storms hit the west coast of Ireland. The businessman immediately took an active hand in advancing and promoting his Irish investment.

In April of 2014, Tony Lowes, director of Friends of the Irish Environment, said Trump called him to offer the group help in opposing a proposed offshore wind project in a nearby, environmentally sensitive area. The group, which has since come out against Trump’s proposed wall, declined the businessman’s offer.

The next month, Trump gave an interview about the golf resort, also known as Trump Doonbeg, on Irish radio, vowing to invest up to €45m in the property. “If I didn’t have confidence in Ireland I would never have made this big investment,” he said. He also promised to “reshape it and make it one of the greatest golf courses in the world.”

But Trump has encountered obstacles to that vision. Days before he concluded his purchase, a single storm eroded as much as eight meters of frontage in some parts of the golf course. Since acquiring the property, Trump has been trying to build coastal protection works to prevent further erosion.

Earlier this month, after failing to win special approval from the national government for the structure, Trump re-submitted a planning application with the Clare County Council seeking permission to build the wall, which would consist of 200,000 tons of rock distributed along two miles of beach. As part of the application, Trump International Golf Links submitted an environmental impact statement — prepared by an Irish environmental consultancy — which argues that erosion is likely to accelerate as sea levels rise more quickly.

The statement acknowledges one Irish government study that assumes a steady rate of erosion through 2050, but argues that the study fails to account for the effects of climate change: “If the predictions of an increase in sea level rise as a result of global warming prove correct, however, it is likely that there will be a corresponding increase in coastal erosion rates not just in Doughmore Bay but around much of the coastline of Ireland. In our view, it could reasonably be expected that the rate of sea level rise might become twice of that presently occurring. … As a result, we would expect the rate of dune recession to increase.”

The bigger problem, though, according to the impact statement, will be the erosion caused by larger, more frequent storms. “As with other predictions of global warming and its effects, there is no universal consensus regarding changes in these events,” it states. “Our advice is to assume that the recent average rate of dune recession will not alter greatly in the next few decades, perhaps as far into the future as 2050 as assumed in the [government study] but that subsequently an increase in this rate is more likely than not.”

Later, the statement argues that rising sea levels make taking action unavoidable. “A Do nothing/Do minimum option will have the least impact on [natural] processes but the existing erosion rate will continue and worsen, due to sea level rise, in the next coming years, posing a real and immediate risk to most of the golf course frontage and assets,” states the conclusion of an analysis of various options for responding to the erosion.

Trump’s company has warned not only the county council of the perils of climate change, but also local residents. An appendix to TIGL’s planning application includes a scan of a brochure that the company has distributed to residents to make the case for building the proposed coastal protection works. The heading of one page — emblazoned with a “Trump Doonbeg” logo — is “Need for Coastal Protection.” The page lists four bullet points, the last of which is, “Predicted sea level rise and more frequent storm events will increase the rate of erosion throughout the 21st century.”

The statements in the filings contradict positions publicly held by Trump, who has weighed in repeatedly on climate change in recent years – mostly to dismiss it outright. In 2012, he tweeted, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive,” though he has since insisted the tweet was a joke. In 2013, he tweeted, “We should be focused on clean and beautiful air-not expensive and business closing GLOBAL WARMING-a total hoax!” In January 2014, he tweeted, “This very expensive GLOBAL WARMING bullshit has got to stop. Our planet is freezing, record low temps, and our GW scientists are stuck in ice.”

In some recent comments, Trump has continued to defy the widely held scientific consensus about man-made climate change, but his statements have become more complicated, if not entirely clear.

“I’m not a believer in global warming. And I’m not a believer in man-made global warming,” Trump told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt in September. “It could be warming, and it’s going to start to cool at some point. And you know, in the early, in the 1920s, people talked about global cooling.”

That same month, Trump appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and said, “I consider climate change to be not one of our big problems. I consider it to be not a big problem at all. I think it’s weather. I think it’s weather changes. It could be some man-made something, but you know, if you look at China, they’re doing nothing about it. Other countries, they’re doing nothing about it. It’s a big planet.”

Asked by a Washington Post editorial writer in March, “Don’t good businessmen hedge against risks, not ignore them?” Trump responded, “I just think we have much bigger risks. I mean I think we have militarily tremendous risks. I think we’re in tremendous peril. I think our biggest form of climate change we should worry about is nuclear weapons.”

The Pentagon, however, describes climate change as “an urgent and growing threat to our national security.”.

Earlier this year, Trump tapped North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer, who also does not accept the scientific consensus on climate change but has expressed support for a modest carbon tax, as an energy adviser. Next Thursday, Trump is scheduled to travel to North Dakota to address a gathering sponsored by an oil industry group, an audience that will likely be receptive to climate skepticism.

But Trump — who recently vowed to “at a minimum” renegotiate December’s Paris climate deal — finds his position at odds with the two-thirds of the American public who described themselves as a “great deal” or “fair amount” worried about global warming in a March Gallup poll.

The New York billionaire has not been shy about abandoning past positions on issues like gun control and abortion as his views and his political considerations have evolved. And as he pivots to the general election, his stated position could come into line with the position taken by his business.

“It’s conceivable that he might swing around on this,” Inglis said. “Of course it would be a smart political move for him or for anyone because that’s where the public’s already going. That’s where millennials are going. That’s where the future is.”

[Politico]

Four Months After Fundraiser, Trump Finally Gives $1 Million to Veterans Group

Almost four months after promising $1 million of his own money to veterans’ causes, Donald Trump moved to fulfill that pledge Monday evening — promising the entire sum to a single charity as he came under intense media scrutiny.

Trump, now the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, organized a nationally televised fundraiser for veterans’ causes in Des Moines on Jan. 28. That night, Trump said he had raised $6 million,  including the gift from his own pocket.

“Donald Trump gave $1 million,” he said then.

As recently as last week, Trump’s campaign manager had insisted that the mogul had already given that money away. But that was false: Trump had not.

In recent days, The Washington Post and other media outlets had pressed Trump and his campaign for details about how much the fundraiser had actually raised and whether Trump had given his portion.

The candidate refused to provide details. On Monday, a Post reporter used Twitter — Trump’s preferred social-media platform — to search publicly for any veterans groups that had received Trump’s money.

By Monday afternoon, The Post had found none. But it seems to have caught the candidate’s attention.

Later Monday evening, Trump called the home of James K. Kallstrom, a former FBI official who is chairman of the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation. The charity aids families of fallen Marines and federal law enforcement officers.

Trump told Kallstrom that he would give the entire $1 million to the group, according to Kallstrom’s wife.  Sue Kallstrom said she was not sure whether the money had been transferred yet. However on May 25th it was confirmed the transaction was completed.

Other big donors to Trump’s fundraiser had already made their gifts weeks before. Why had Trump waited so long?

“You have a lot of vetting to do,” Trump said Tuesday in a telephone interview conducted while he was flying to a campaign rally in Albuquerque.

For this particular donation, it would seem that little new vetting was required because Trump already knew the recipient well. The Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation had already received more than $230,000 in donations from the Donald J. Trump Foundation — a charity controlled by Trump but largely funded by others. Last year, the group gave Trump its “Commandant’s Leadership Award” at a gala in New York.

When asked Tuesday whether he had given the money this week only because reporters had been asking about it, Trump responded: “You know, you’re a nasty guy. You’re really a nasty guy. I gave out millions of dollars that I had no obligation to do.”

Trump’s call on Monday night stood in contradiction to an account given Friday by campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. “The money is fully spent,” Lewandowski said then. “Mr. Trump’s money is fully spent.”

On Tuesday, Trump said Lewandowski would not have been in a position to know that. “I don’t know that Corey would even know when I gave it out,” he said.

In the same interview, Trump said the fundraiser had raised about $5.5 million for veterans overall. He said he was not sure how much of it remained to be given away.

That also contrasted with the account last week from Lewandowski, who said that about $4.5 million had been raised and that Trump’s effort had fallen short of the promised $6 million because some unnamed big donors had backed out.

On Tuesday, Trump said no major contributors had reneged. “For the most part, I think they all came through,” he said. “Some of them came through very late.”

Trump also said he had never actually promised that the fundraiser had raised $6 million. “I didn’t say six,” he said.

But, in video of the event, Trump tells the crowd, “We just cracked $6 million! Right? $6 million.”

Trump was told that he did, indeed, say “$6 million.”

“Well, I don’t, I don’t have the notes. I don’t have the tape of it,” he said. “Play [the tape] for me. Because I’d like to hear it.” Before the video could be cued up, Trump had moved on.

The story of his nighttime gift seemed to highlight a unique quality of Trump: his acute sensitivity to losing face on social media. He had routinely rejected questions about the fundraiser for veterans if they were posed in person.

“Why should I give you records?” Trump said in an interview with The Post earlier this month, when he was asked about the money. “I don’t have to give you records.”

Then, on Monday, a Post reporter publicly queried multiple veterans groups on Twitter, asking whether they had received personal donations from Trump. None had.

Hours later, after 10:38 p.m. Eastern time, Trump responded on Twitter: “While under no obligation to do so, I have raised between 5 & 6 million dollars, including 1million dollars from me, for our VETERANS. Nice!”

And sometime that same evening, Trump called to make the donation to James Kallstrom’s group. Sue Kallstrom wasn’t sure what time the call was, only that it happened after she went to bed at 8 p.m.

“I guess he wants to take care of the vets,” she said. Among its other good works, the foundation provides $30,000 educational grants to the children of the fallen. “The foundation is thrilled, because the [money] is going to help a lot of people. Especially the children.”

Trump’s campaign has said the remainder of the donations would be given out by Memorial Day. Trump said he would ask his staff to send The Post a list of the groups that would receive that money, but his staff did not immediately provide it.

But it did appear that Trump’s staff was preparing to disburse more gifts. In Boston on Tuesday, the founder of  the city’s annual Wounded Vet Bike Run got a call.

“For some reason, a Trump campaign worker reached out to me today  and asked for our nonprofit number, and I gave it to ’em,” said Andrew Biggio, the group’s founder.

The annual motorcycle ride raises money to help veterans and their families, including giving away cars and retrofitting motorcycles for the disabled. He said the staffer did not tell him how much money to expect. “I have no idea what’s coming down the pike,” Biggio said.

In recent weeks, other veterans  groups had been struggling to figure out how to ask for some of Trump’s remaining money. Trump had provided no formal way to apply.

Biggio said he had not formally applied but was pretty sure how he had come to be on Trump’s radar.

“I served in Iraq with Donald Trump’s bodyguard’s son,” he said.

(h/t Washington Post)

Reality

Donald Trump made good on his promise to give $1 million dollars to veteran charities, four full months after he claimed he already donated the money.

While a $1 million dollar donation to veterans groups is an amazing gesture, it is hardly altruistic. The televised fundraiser only came about so he could dodge debate questions from Megyn Kelly about his past sexist comments towards women. Then Trump attempted to extort Fox News for an illegal “quid pro quo” donation of $5 million dollars to appear at their Iowa debate. Then for the next 4 months Trump lied again and again when he boasted about his charitable donation to his rallies.

On 1/28, Trump released a press release indicating that Mr. Trump made a $1 million dollar contribution at a special event in Des Moines to benefit vets.

The conservative newspaper The Weekly Standard broke the story on 2/18 that the Trump campaign was refusing to acknowledge how much money was disbursed saying, “You can do your homework and ask the veterans’ organizations.” They did and found out that only about $500,000 was distributed to veterans charities at that time.

On 2/26, the conservative pundit Stuart Varney on Fox Business News corroborated The Weekly Standard’s story with their own investigation by checking with the charities a full month after the fundraiser and found that only $650,000 of the supposed $6 million raised had been distributed to charities.

Two months after the fundraiser on 4/7, the not-very-liberal Wall Street Journal again talked to the veteran charities and found only $2.4 million was distributed.

Then on 5/20, The Washington Post followed up with the 22 veteran charities and only $3.1 million could be accounted for. Furthering the scandal, the Trump campaign confirmed that only $4.5 million and not $6 million was raised while claiming $1 million dollars donated by Trump was already given to the charities but refused to share evidence:

Did Trump make good on his promise to give from his personal funds?

 

“The money is fully spent. Mr. Trump’s money is fully spent,” Lewandowski said.

 

To whom did Trump give, and in what amounts?

 

“He’s not going to share that information,” Lewandowski said.

As recent as 5/23, a day before this story broke, Donald Trump tweeted and was still claiming the money was donated.

And finally 5/24 The Washington Post concluded its investigation which uncovered the story that Trump never gave any money to a veterans charity. Once that fact came to light then, and only then, did Trump cut a check to a single charity.

Then, to the surprise of no one, Trump insulted the reporter who caught him trying to cheat our veterans, then later at a press conference tried to turn this around on the “dishonest” media.

As a side note, this is the first time Donald Trump has given any of his personal money to a charity of any kind in over 5 years.

But Donald Had to Vet the Charity!

Donald Trump donated $100,000 dollars to the same charity in April of 2015. As far as the Trump Organization is concerned, the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation was already a trusted charity.

Media

Links

The Washington Post explains their methodology for uncovering the story.

Trump Protesters Smash Door, Break Through Barriers

Protests at Trump Albuquerque, New Mexico rally.

Protesters lit fires, smashed a door and threw rocks outside a Donald Trump rally Tuesday night in New Mexico — the latest scuffle to follow the presumptive Republican nominee’s campaign.

The scene outside Albuquerque’s convention center was chaotic as police ushered protesters away from Trump’s event and into the nearby streets.

There, anti-Trump protesters — many critical of his positions on immigration — loudly chanted, “Fuck Donald Trump.”

The protesters had broken a glass door to the convention center. Some taunted police and jumped on police vehicles as officers in riot gear and on police horses moved them away from the convention center’s exits.

Trump had already left the event.

The scene was reminiscent of the violence between Trump supporters and protesters in Chicago in March.

This time, though, police kept protesters and Trump supporters apart, and didn’t arrest or clash with the protesters.

Despite initial word of gunshots, Albuquerque’s police department said on Twitter that there was “no confirmation” of gunshots.

“There is no confirmation that any gunshots were fired, contrary to reports. Possible damage to Convention Center Windows by pellet gun,” the department tweeted.

Police reported rocks and bottles being thrown at their police horses, but downplayed their clashes with protesters on Twitter, noting that they hadn’t used tear gas and had not arrested any of the protesters.

“The smoke that has been seen is not tear gas, it’s just smoke. We have not deployed tear gas at this time,” the police tweeted.

Police added: “Only arrests at this point have been from inside the rally.”

Inside Trump’s event, protesters disrupted him sporadically. At least three were forcefully removed by police after they refused to leave.
A group of a dozen protesters in the grandstands around the stage where Trump spoke unfurled banners that read “Undocumented Unafraid” and “We’ve heard enough.” Another banner accused Trump of being a fascist.

At one point, a woman in what appeared to be a bra was throwing fake money in the air in the stands behind Trump. She was eventually escorted out by police and security.
It’s not the first instance of violence at a Trump event. In March, there were violent clashes between Trump’s supporters and protesters in Chicago, at an event that Trump decided to cancel.

Protesters inside Trump events have faced violence, too. One was punched at an event in North Carolina, with the Trump supporter involved in the incident later facing criminal charges.

Eventually, the Albuquerque police tweeted, “Appears that most of the @realDonaldTrump protestors have left & remaining contingent is only looking to cause trouble & be destructive.”

(h/t CNN)

Reality

Violence has no place in our political process and should be condemned from all sides.

Donald Trump says a lot of divisive and hateful statements, escalation of tensions may only seem natural. However as a protester, engaging in violence only plays into the hands of Donald Trump and his supporters. It gives them justification for their false sense of being victimized and allows them to paint the opposition as “thugs” and side-step our real and valid arguments.

Media

Trump Taunts Protesters, “He Can’t Get a Date, So He’s Doing This Instead”

Donald Trump may now be the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, but that doesn’t stop him from reacting to hecklers in the same way he has throughout his campaign.

At a particularly turbulent rally in New Mexico, where demonstrators clashed with police outside the venue, multiple protesters interrupted Trump during his speech.

Trump used his trademark “Get ’em out!” dismissal for at least one and brushed off another by declaring it “So exciting.”

Another man’s forced exit prompted Trump to go on the offensive. “He can’t get a date, so he’s doing this instead,” he said.

The heckler who caught the most of Trump’s attention was a young boy seen shouting at the candidate.

“How old is this kid? Still wearing diapers,” Trump said. “I’m telling you, the kid looks like he’s 10 years old. I’ve never seen it.”

“I said, ‘Get out of here,’ and he ran out. It was great. I wish everybody —” Trump said without finishing the sentence.

The real estate mogul and former reality show star is known for mocking and unceremoniously ejecting hecklers at his events.

(h/t ABC)

Reality

Rather than addressing the content of their grievances, Trump instead chooses to insult the protesters like a schoolyard bully. This is not the temperament of a President of the United States of America.

Trump, on multiple occasions, has defended violence against protesters, encouraged violence against protesters, and promised violence. It stands to reason that it is Trump’s actions and behavior that creates an environment where violence against protesters is acceptable.

Media

Trump Brings Up Debunked Vince Foster Conspiracy Theory As “Very Fishy”

Deputy White House counsel Vince Foster suicide.

There’s no such thing as a conspiracy theory that Donald Trump will not believe.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Trump called the circumstances surrounding former Clinton Deputy White House counsel Vince Foster’s death in 1993 “very fishy,” saying the aide had “intimate knowledge” of events surrounding the Clintons.

I don’t bring [Foster] up because I don’t know enough to really discuss it. I will say there are people who continue to bring it up because they think it was absolutely a murder. I don’t do that because I don’t think it’s fair.

Deputy White House counsel Vince Foster was found dead in Fort Marcy Park off the George Washington Parkway in Virginia, outside Washington, D.C., on July 20, 1993.

(h/t The Hill)

Reality

Donald Trump didn’t want to discuss the Foster conspiracy theory… by discussing it? How is that statement not dishonest?

Vince Foster’s death in 1993 was concluded to have been a suicide by inquiries/investigations conducted by the United States Park Police, the Department of Justice, the FBI, the United States Congress, Independent Counsel Robert B. Fiske, CNN, and Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr who was not a fan of the Clintons. The idea that Vincent Foster’s death was anything other than a suicide flies in the face of all available evidence, including Foster’s own suicide note. But yet this never stops wingnut conspiracy sites like WND, Breibart, and The Daily Mail from keeping fiction alive.

This is not the only false or unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that Donald Trump subscribes to. Some examples are:

Trump Promises NRA He Will Remove Gun Free Zones

Donald Trump accepting the NRA endorsement.

Donald Trump on Friday called Hillary Clinton “the most anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment” presidential candidate to ever run for office and likened her posture on the issue to that of a dictator.

“Hillary’s pledged to issue new anti-gun executive orders, you know that. This is the behavior, you could say of a dictator. This is the behavior of somebody, frankly, I think that doesn’t know what she’s doing,” Trump said in a speech at the National Rifle Association Leadership Forum. She’s not equipped to be president in so many different ways. This is the thinking of a person that is not equipped to be the president of the United States. Believe me, she doesn’t understand it.”

He also echoed Bernie Sanders’ attacks on Clinton — the Vermont senator challenged whether the former secretary of state was qualified and had the temperament to be president.

“Bad judgment. We talk about it. She’s got bad judgment. You know where it came from,” Trump said. “It came from me and also came from her current opponent, who’s doing pretty well, I’ll tell you.”

Trump also vowed to get rid of gun-free zones, invoking the July 2015 shootings in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in which a gunman opened fire in gun-free zones on military installations there, eventually killing five people. (The FBI later said the attacks were “motivated by foreign terrorist organization propaganda.”)

“That wasn’t part of my speech, I must be honest with you,” Trump admitted. “I don’t know. I don’t know. Maybe I shouldn’t read you what I have here. But in fact, if I would have known teleprompters, I would have used them.”

Before Trump began addressing the crowd in Louisville, Kentucky, the NRA formally announced its endorsement of the billionaire, warning of the dangers of a Hillary Clinton presidency. But throughout his remarks, the real estate mogul echoed much of what NRA’s leadership said in their comments preceding his appearance.

“Hillary wants to disarm vulnerable citizens in high crime neighborhoods, whether it is a young single mom in Florida or a grandmother in Ohio, Hillary wants them to be defenseless, wants to take away any chance they have of survival,” Trump said. “By the way, you have men and you have women sitting in an apartment. And outside is tremendous crime. Tremendous crimes of all kinds. And they need to be protected. And you know, the only way they are going to be able to protect themselves. And if you take that gun away from them, it’s gonna be a very unfair situation.”

“That’s why we’re going to call her Heartless Hillary. We can do without that,” Trump said, though he added, “I like Crooked Hillary better.”

(h/t Politico)

Reality

Donald Trump claimed that gun-free zones are like “bait” to a “sicko” to much applause to the NRA members in attendance. Actually Trump is echoing the NRA’s own argument that if guns are not allowed near schools and government buildings then shootings cannot be stopped by a “good guy with a gun.” However the empirical evidence is not on Trump’s side.

In 2014 the FBI released a reported titled “A Study of Active Shooter Incidents in the United States Between 2000 and 2013” which looked over 13 years of data and a of total of 160 incidents, and concluded the concept of a good guy with a gun was unequivocally proven to be a myth. The number of times a shooting ended after armed citizens exchanged gunfire with the shooters only amounted to 5 times (3.1%). In contrast the number of times unarmed citizens safely and successfully disrupted the shootings was 21 times (13.1%).

Donald Trump also parroted the NRA claim that more guns make Americans safer. Let’s forget for a moment of the NRA’s round-up program, where the NRA’s lobby wing receives money every time a gun is purchased in the United States, this argument again has zero basis in the documented evidence. A review of the academic literature by Harvard University looked at a broad array of evidence and concluded where guns are more available, there are more homicides by firearm.

Instead the FBI and academia recognizes that seeking to prevent these tragedies is clearly the best result.

Media

Trump Campaign Admits It Did Not Raise $6 Million for Veterans

Trump at rally for vets in Des Moines

One night in January, Donald Trump skipped a GOP debate and instead held his own televised fundraiser for veterans. At the end of the night, Trump proclaimed it a huge success: “We just cracked $6 million, right? Six million.”

Now, Trump’s campaign says that number is incorrect.

Campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said the fundraiser actually netted about $4.5 million, or 75 percent of the total that Trump announced.

Lewandowski blamed the shortfall on Trump’s own wealthy acquaintances. He said some of them had promised big donations that Trump was counting on when he said he had raised $6 million. But Lewandowski said those donors backed out and gave nothing.

“There were some individuals who he’d spoken to, who were going to write large checks, [who] for whatever reason . . . didn’t do it,” Lewandowski said in a telephone interview. “I can’t tell you who.”

Lewandowski also said he did not know whether a $1 million pledge from Trump himself was counted as part of the $4.5 million total. He said Trump has given that amount, but he declined to identify any recipients.

The comments appear to be the first acknowledgment — almost four months later — that Trump’s fundraiser had brought in less than the candidate said. Lewandowski said he did not know the exact total raised or how much of it remained unspent.

Even with the lower total, Trump’s fundraiser brought in millions of dollars for veterans’ charities. The Washington Post’s accounting, based on interviews with charities, has found at least $3.1 million in donations to veterans groups.

Trump’s fundraiser Jan. 28 was an indelible moment, a one-night showcase of the GOP front-runner’s boldness and charm.

In a single evening in Des Moines, Trump showed Fox News — the host of that night’s Trump-less debate — that he was powerful enough to spurn the Fox network.

At the same time, he showed a national audience that he could conjure a multimillion-dollar benefit out of nothing, using connections, showmanship and his own wealth.

“Donald Trump — another great builder in New York, now a politician — I can’t stand this, a politician,” Trump said, in his trademark run-on style, after he’d listed a series of gifts from other wealthy friends. “I don’t want to be called a politician. All talk, no action — I refuse to be called a politician. Donald Trump gave $1 million. Okay?”

In the days after the fundraiser, Trump repeated the $6 million figure in TV appearances and at Iowa rallies. “At that rally we raised, in one hour, $6 million. Is that good?” Trump said four days afterward at a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

At first, he was very public about giving the money away. In rallies across Iowa, Trump would call representatives of local veterans groups up to the stage and present them with oversize checks.

In some cases, the money came from friends of Trump’s who sent checks directly to veterans groups. In other cases, the money was routed through Trump’s personal foundation.

For the groups that received this money — often dealing with aging veterans from the Vietnam War, along with returning troops from Iraq and Afghanistan — the money was an enormous help.

“It’s all long gone,” said James Kallstrom, a retired FBI official who is the chairman of the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation. In March, his group received $100,000, which Kallstrom said would go toward $30,000 educational grants for the children of Marines killed on active duty. “I believe there was a helicopter crash that had, oh God, I forget how many there were. . . . They’re all young, and they all have young children.”

But, as the race continued, the checks from the fundraiser began to come less frequently. The most recent check identified by The Post was dated March 25.

In recent weeks, Trump and his campaign repeatedly declined to give new details about how much they have given away.

“Why should I give you records?” Trump said in an interview with The Post this month. “I don’t have to give you records.”

Paul Rieckhoff, founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said Trump’s refusal to divulge how much of the money he had distributed raised questions about whether the candidate intended the fundraiser primarily as a public-relations effort for himself.

“That’s just shady. Right? No matter how you cut it, that’s just shady,” Rieckhoff said. “If he was going to make it right, a couple of weeks before Memorial Day would be a good time to do it. It behooves him, not just politically but ethically, to come forward and account for this money.”

Trump provided no official way for charities to apply for the money. Groups around the country still tried, sending letters and hitting up local veterans-for-Trump leaders.

“We haven’t heard anything,” said Judy Schaffer of Heroes to Heroes, a New Jersey-based group that sends veterans on nondenominational trips to Israel to prevent suicide and promote “spiritual healing.” Her group had received a donation from Trump’s personal foundation years before.

“We have a waiting list of over 200 veterans. Many of them have already attempted suicide,” Schaffer said this week. “And it keeps me up at night, not being able to send more people.”

Lewandowski said Trump has decided on about two dozen groups that will get the remainder of the money in the next couple of weeks. He said the groups have been vetted and had been chosen by word of mouth within the Trump campaign or from causes Trump had previously supported.

Lewandowski said Trump should not be faulted for promising $6 million in donations.

“What he said was, ‘We hope to get $6 million.’ He said this at an event where we were trying to get money. It was a best guess,” Lewandowski said. “That was his goal. His goal was to get somewhere around $6 million.”

On the night of the fundraiser, Trump named nine big donors, including himself.

Since then, The Post has found evidence from Trump’s staff, from the donors or from veterans charities that received money that seven of those nine gave money as promised. Those gifts added up to $3.78 million.

On top of that, Trump said small-dollar donors gave $670,000 over the Internet. That adds up to $4.45 million.

So, were those other two big donors among the ones who backed out?

One of them was a shopping-mall magnate from Ohio who did not respond to multiple calls, emails and messages from The Post seeking to confirm his donations. But even if that man did back out, his pledge was so small — $50,000 — that it would make little difference in a tally of millions.

The other donor had made a much bigger promise: Trump, with his vow to give $1 million.

In the past few days, The Post has interviewed 22 veterans charities that received donations as a result of Trump’s fundraiser. None of them have reported receiving personal donations from Trump.

Did Trump make good on his promise to give from his personal funds?

“The money is fully spent. Mr. Trump’s money is fully spent,” Lewandowski said.

To whom did Trump give, and in what amounts?

“He’s not going to share that information,” Lewandowski said.

Reality

Controversy still surrounds Trump’s January fundraiser for vets called “Scared of Debate Questions From Megyn Kelly.” Sorry that was a typo. The fundraiser was called “Rally For Vets” and Trump claimed it raised $6 million dollars, including $1 million of his own money.

Four months later and the Washington Post uncovered the fundraiser only netted $4.5 million and only $3.1 million has been distributed to charities. Furthermore the Trump campaign refuses to provide evidence that Trump donated his promised $1 million dollars.

This is serious stuff. There are real veterans with real physical and psychological problems in need. If Trump continues to claim he’s for vets then this is a lousy way to prove it.

Trump: ‘Who the Hell Cares If There’s a Trade War?’

Trump asks who cares about a trade war.

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump shot down critics of his strategy to prevent American companies from outsourcing, brushing off the idea of a trade war.

Trump touted his proposal for a 35 percent tariff on imports into the United States from the American companies that have outsourced to Mexico, China, and other countries.

“At least the United States is going to make a hell of a lot of money,” Trump said at a fundraiser for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. “And these dummies say, ‘Oh well that’s a trade war.'”

“Trade war? We’re losing $500 billion in trade with China. Who the hell cares if there’s a trade war?” Trump continued. “$500 billion, and they’re telling me about a trade war.”

Trump quickly added, “You’re not going to have a trade war,” predicting “China will behave” and “respect our country again” after slamming the country’s currency manipulation.

“We are not going to be the stupid country anymore. Folks, believe me, we are viewed as the stupid country,” Trump continued while pushing back on critics of his positions who argue that they’re anti-free trade.

“We’re like a big, big sloppy bully that gets punched in the face and goes down. You ever see a bully get knocked out? It’s a terrible thing, unless you’re doing the punching, then it’s OK.”

“We are going to make great deals for our country,” he added. “It might be free, it might not be free.”

(h/t The Hill)

Reality

As president, Trump could not be able to create these tariffs by himself. Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 of the United States Constitution, authorizes Congress to levy taxes. Most of Trump’s threatened tariffs would violate decades of binding trade deals negotiated by previous administrations and agreed to by previous Congresses. However rather than looking into the legality, we will instead explore Trumps question who should care if there is a trade war.

Trump proposed a 35% tariff on American companies who outsource manufacturing outside of the United States and then ship the products for sale back home. A tariff is a tax on an imported good that is passed on to consumers, both individual and businesses. That’s right, you the consumer will pay Trump’s 35% tax which means you will pay more for the products you buy every day.

For example Forbes estimates Trump’s tariff plan would cost American consumers an extra $6 billion dollars per year just on Apple iPhones alone.

Trump Once Proposed a Race-Based Season of “The Apprentice”

The Celebrity Apprentice

Donald Trump once floated the idea of a race-based season of his hit reality television show “The Apprentice,” where teams would be divided based on the color of their skin.

Back in 2005, ahead of filming his fifth season as a host of the “The Apprentice,” Trump said he was considering “an idea that is fairly controversial — creating a team of successful African Americans versus a team of successful whites.”

Trump, currently the Republican party’s presumptive presidential nominee, made the comments on his now-defunct radio show. His proposal was reported by Entertainment Weekly in 2005 and resurfaced by a Buzzfeed News report.

Trump, who said he “wasn’t particularly happy” with the fourth season of “The Apprentice,” later added of the racialized premise: “Whether people like that idea or not, it is somewhat reflective of our very vicious world.”

Trump acknowledged at the time, however, that “not everybody thinks it’s a good idea.”

Trump’s idea came shortly after Omarosa Manigualt, an African American woman, became a popular contestant on the first season of “The Apprentice” in 2004. Manigault, now an avid Trump supporter, later appeared on subsequent iterations of the show, including “The Celebrity Apprentice.”

The idea — which he had also raised on Howard Stern’s show a couple months earlier, according to a 2005 Entertainment Weekly article — drew an avalanche of coverage, commentary, and question-mark headlines at the time.

“Will next Apprentice play race card?” asked UPI.

“Will The Apprentice become a battle of the races?” mused MSNBC.com.

“The Apprentice” never took up Trump’s proposal to cast the show by race.

(h/t CBS News, Buzzfeed)

Reality

Donald Trump has run a campaign based on racism and racist language.

Tara Dowdell, a black communications consultant who appeared on season 3 of The Apprentice had an excellent quote that sums up this entire story:

Best-case scenario, it was huge blind spot. Worst-case scenario, it showed [Trump’s] willingness to exploit race and be divisive — to do anything to promote himself. The presidency can’t be one crazy, ill-advised publicity stunt after another.

 

A Trump University Book Includes Tax Avoidance Strategies

Trump University logo

Donald Trump’s opponents have posited no shortage of theories for why the New York billionaire would be wary of releasing his tax returns. High on the list? The likely use of extensive tax avoidance strategies.

None other than Trump University — the now-defunct education company named after the tycoon — heartily touts a book explicitly designed to help people do just that: avoid taxes.

The book, “Asset Protection 101: Tax and Legal Strategies of the Rich,” lays out in extensive detail strategies to keep the U.S. government away from the readers’ assets. It minces no words on its intent, at one point telling readers “the topic of asset protection is amazing, cunning, baffling, powerful and tricky.”

Trump wrote the foreward to the book, which was authored by attorney J.J. Childers and published in 2007 under the Trump University banner — part of a series of books promoted as “practical, straightforward primers on the basics of doing business the Trump way — successfully.”

“If you’re not satisfied with the status quo in your career, read this book, pick one key idea and implement it. I guarantee it will make you money,” the presumptive Republican nominee wrote in his foreword.

Trump touts the book — and the others in the Trump University series — as a recipe to riches, calling the contents “the most important and powerful ideas in business — the same concepts taught in the most respected MBA curricula and used by the most successful companies in the world, including The Trump Organization.”

“I created Trump University to give motivated business-people the skills required to achieve lasting success,” Trump wrote.

Asked about the book and Trump’s personal strategies on tax avoidance, Trump’s spokeswoman Hope Hicks pointed to Trump’s tax plan, which is posted on the campaign’s website. As to Trump’s returns themselves, Hicks reiterated that Trump “is undergoing a routine audit and plans to release the returns when the audit is complete.”

The IRS has corrected this false claim: “Federal privacy rules prohibit the IRS from discussing individual tax matters. Nothing prevents individuals from sharing their own tax information.”

The book itself is an in-the-weeds breakdown of strategies to shield income and property from the Internal Revenue Service. With sections including “Tax Secrets of the Wealthy,” “Lawsuit Protection Secrets of the Wealthy” and “Estate and Retirement Planning Secrets of the Wealth,” it’s composed of the ins-and-outs of how, in its words, readers can set themselves up to “pay as little tax as legally possible.”

In short, it’s a certified public accountant’s dream manual.

Or, as the book puts it:

These strategies are one of the primary reasons why people make statements such as, “the rich just keep getting richer.” It’s true. The difference between the rich and others is that the rich take the time to learn the system. Others simply sit around and complain about the system. If you feel like the rules of the game discriminate against one group or another, you’re right. Businesses get far more in deductions than do individuals. If you don’t like the treatment that you’re getting as an individual, it’s time for you to get down to business. You can do that by starting a business so that you can take advantage of the tax secrets of the wealthy.

Examples

Get your head around reality

The rich have an army of lawyers and accountants solely focused on taxes. Those lawyers and accountants are paid very well to make sure the rich find as many loopholes as possible to shield their cash and property. And with good reason, according to the book:

Asset protection is the foundation of all wealth building; you must understand it if you are ever to join the ranks of the financial elite.

Prepare for combat

Those lawyers and accountants are there for a reason — to fight. And that, according to the book, is the attitude needed to truly take advantage of a tax code riddled with loopholes. Just remember: do it legally.

If you plan on becoming (or staying) wealthy you must learn to legally combat your tax bill.

Lawsuits

Maybe worse than the IRS: While the government is certainly Enemy No. 1 in the book, lawsuits — the kind that can threaten accumulated wealth — come in a close second.

Putting your assets in a position that will leave them untouched by litigation is crucial.

Entire family futures have been put in jeopardy. The worst part is that these lawsuits often could have been avoided with a few simple preventative measures.

Shield your retirement

Or the government will take it: The book goes into great detail on how to structure your savings in a way that will shelter them from future taxes, fees or expenses.

Wealthy families in this country take estate planning seriously because they know how bad government intervention can be. You must adopt this mentality.

Don’t be afraid of the IRS

While the U.S. government certainly isn’t revered in the book, it also goes to great lengths to make clear that readers shouldn’t be afraid. Instead, the convoluted tax code provides a series of advantages — the kinds that should be taken advantage of.

The fact is, you don’t have to be scared of the IRS. Americans have every right — some would say a duty — to pay as little tax as possible.

A business can be one hell of a tax shelter

The chapter titled “The Greatest Tax Shelter in the World: Owning Your Own Business” includes a section on breaks known as like-kind exchanges, or the use of “1031,” as it’s often called, for the section of the tax code where it resides. Use of such strategies is so valuable, it’s a shock they’re legal, according to one passage in the book:

Would you be interested in avoiding paying the tax on the sale of your property completely while maintaining or even increasing your overall net worth? Of course, any wise investor would. Amazingly, this can indeed happen and even better, it is totally legal.

The break allows real estate owners to sell a piece of property and avoid taxes on any capital gains by buying a new one shortly thereafter. Continued use of the break, which basically comes down to swapping properties, would result in deferred capital gains that, if deployed strategically — and repeatedly — by an active real estate investor, could completely avoid taxation.

The tax code is undoubtedly skewed toward easing burdens on small businesses. (Because seriously, what lawmaker is going to vote against a loophole that benefits small business?)

The best advice I can give to anyone looking to keep a larger percentage of their hard-earned money is to do what it takes to own your own business.

Real estate is king

In a passage that lines up rather nicely with Donald Trump’s primary line of business, the book makes clear that real estate — either through rental-income or through appreciation — is a great way to use the tax code to actually build wealth.

There are very few business opportunities that allow you to build wealth without paying taxes and then subsequently pay reduced rates when the time comes to settle up with Uncle Sam. Real estate, however, is a prime exception.

The book, citing Trump himself, makes clear that the tax code favors those in the real estate business. Between strategies like like-kind exchanges and cost segregation, real estate provides ample opportunity to take advantage of the tax code.

Embrace depreciation

Depreciation — the “mother of all tax deductions” could “potentially allow a business owner to deduct up to $108,000 of asset purchases while actually spending little to no money now.”

It’s all on you

Well, technically it’s not (see: lawyers, accountants.) But the key theme of the book is that the tax code is so riddled with loopholes that anyone who doesn’t take advantage is simply leaving money on the table.

As it concludes:

When all is said and done, you have a decision to make. You are the one responsible for what you do with what you’ve been presented. You can go on doing things the same old way, which would produce the same old results. Or you can do things the way millionaires do things.

(h/t CNN, CNN)

Reality

The book explains why the wealthy, who can afford the high-priced lawyers and accountants, are awesome and everyone else is just a sucker who has to pay their fair share in taxes.

Keep in mind all of these loopholes are 100% legal. What a sanctioned Trump book that brazenly mocks and highlights the separation between the haves and the have-nots shows is how he rarely looks out for the little guy. A common belief among Trump supporters.

Links

Sample of ‘Asset Protection 101’ on Google Books

1 153 154 155 156 157 186