Generosity or propaganda? The donations made by Donald Trump

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Recently, Donald Trump was criticized for posting a Twitter image of a check for $ 100,000 that he donated to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Generosity or propaganda? The donations made by Donald Trump

Through Twitter, the president made public the donation along with a criticism of the media. 

These donations respond to one of the promises that the then Republican candidate made in his presidential campaign in 2016. Trump promised that, if elected, he would renounce the annual presidential salary of USD $400,000 and deliver it to several projects supervised by different government departments.

Leer en español: ¿Generosidad o propaganda? Las donaciones que ha hecho Donald Trump

Trump has fulfilled his promise and since 2017 has donated his quarterly salary to different projects belonging to the Department of the Interior, the Transport, among others. The last two donations prior to that announced by Twitter were intended for the US Small Business Administration, which focuses on helping veterans start small businesses after military life, and the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, according to Associated Press.

However, although at first sight the president's donations may pass for an act of generosity, they have been seen by many as a way to maintain his image as a billionaire, which responds more to the electoral populism with which he arrived at the White House.

In fact, a closer look at the distribution of the budget in the projects accounts for the contradictions in which Trump falls. While he is responsible for giving prominence to his donations, it is known that he himself has promoted budget cuts in the departments that he has helped. For example, it is known that the president seeks to reallocate resources from sectors such as science and education to the Department of Defense and to the plan to build a wall on the border.

How is Trump's income?

Trump's fortune outside of his political life is due to his businesses that include half a dozen buildings around downtown Manhattan, along with golf courses and businesses around the world. A great fortune that, although it remains, has declined since the businessman became president. According to the latest report given by Forbes magazine, since 2015, the net worth of Donald Trump has declined by one billion. At that time his patrimony was of $ 4.5 billion while now it is estimated at $ 3.1 billion.

Such a decline does not have much to do with the management of their presidential income, but rather with the decrease in income from their properties. In general, Forbes estimates that Trump's residential properties in New York and Chicago have decreased by approximately $ 50 million and that his hotel empire contributes $ 30 million less. This, due in part to his policies and his public figure. "By further polarizing the country, he has also polarized its business, in an estimated $200 million against its net worth".

When he ran for president of the United States, Trump said that because he was a billionaire, he could renounce the presidential salary: "Money is not a problem for me", he said in 2016 during the elections. However, this request was not allowed, so he has decided to donate all his salary.

For Rob Goodman, although Trump wants to see donations as a positive gesture, it actually violates the principle that guarantees the social contract between the citizens and the leader they chose, since the presidential salary is a guarantee of the functioning of the government and at the same time prevents the president seek to profit by other means.

Read also: The huge deficit of the United States: How is the "America First" plan?

Trump has been embroiled in scandals like last year's, in which after a tax investigation he was forced to close his Donald J. Trump Foundation created in 1987, which was exclusively dedicated to "charitable works". The Prosecutor's Office found that the money from the Trump Foundation had been used to promote the magnate's properties, in his presidential campaign and other personal obligations. "The Foundation functioned as a checkbook to serve the president's commercial and political interests", said Barbara Underwood, attorney general of New York.


LatinAmerican Post | María Fernanda Barinas

Translated from "¿Generosidad o propaganda? Las donaciones que ha hecho Donald Trump"

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