For weeks, The Washington Post has been trying to prove right Donald Trump’s claim that he himself has given millions to charity.
Proof has been hard to find. Public records show no gifts from Trump to the Donald J. Trump Foundation since 2008. A canvass of 200-plus charities with Trump connections turned up one small gift of less than $10,000 between 2009 and this May (when he, under pressure, made good on his $1 million pledge to help veterans).
But then search firm DonorSearch found a record of “Donald Trump” giving to the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation, which supports a Buffalo, New York cancer center.
The tip was right. The Trump was wrong.
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Donald L. “Skip” Trump, an oncologist and the Buffalo center’s president and chief executive for several years, donated it. He has given $120,000 to charity in the last five years.
Skip Trump had his own story about getting a donation out of the more famous Donald Trump.
The first time Donald Trump was asked to give Donald Trump money, he didn’t.
In about 2007, “A patient of mine actually wrote him a letter when I became CEO at Roswell Park, suggesting that he might seriously want to give money,” Skip Trump said. “I got a nice letter back from him, in response to my patient’s request.”
But no money. After his next try in 2010, Donald Trump reached out.
“He called me, seeking to get the son of a friend of his access to a clinical trial that my colleagues at Roswell Park were running,” Skip Trump said. As it turned out, his colleagues had already heard of this patient and were including him in the trial.
But while Skip Trump had the mogul on the phone, he took the opportunity to ask him for money. The cancer center was doing a “Bald for Bucks” fundraiser, in which staff shaved their heads in return for donations.
“I suggested to Mr. Trump that maybe he should join me and shave his head. And he demurred at that opportunity,” Skip Trump said. But, he said, Trump made a video to help the cause and gave a donation. Skip Trump did not know it, but the money did not come from Donald Trump himself: Tax records show the $30,000 came from his Donald J. Trump Foundation, a nonprofit organization largely stocked with other people’s money. A Roswell Park official said Donald Trump never gave the institution his own money.
After the 2010 gift, the mogul never gave to the institute again.
“It would have been nice,” said Skip Trump, but he hadn’t expected more.
Skip Trump is now chief executive of the Inova Schar Cancer Institute in Northern Virginia.
Would he ever hit the other Donald Trump up for a donation again?
“Absolutely,” he said. “I’d love, maybe after November, when he’s looking for things to do – maybe I’ll have the chance to connect with him again.”