Republican nominee Donald Trump claims he gave generously to help his city in the dark days after the deadly terrorist attacks. But new records show a pledged promise to donate $10,000 to a major 9/11 charity must have somehow slipped his mind.
City Controller Scott Stringer conducted a review of hundreds of pages of previously sealed records of the two main 9/11 charities at the request of the Daily News, and found that Trump and his charity hadn’t donated a dime in the months after 9/11.
“For the periods covered by the audits, we did not find any record of a donation from Trump himself or a Trump entity to either the Twin Towers Fund or the New York City Public/Private Initiatives Inc.,” Stringer’s office said in a statement to the Daily News in response to a Freedom of Information Law request.
This appears to contradict Trump’s prior boasts of spontaneous generosity, made as his hometown reeled from the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil in history. The records show that through mid-2002 there is no evidence that Trump personally or through the Trump Foundation gave to either group.
The controller’s office pointed out that because the reviewed period only covered the year after the attacks for the Twin Towers Fund, they “are unable to conclude definitively that Trump never gave to either of these two funds.”
But it’s clear that he didn’t make the donation anytime soon after the attack, when help was needed the most. And previous reporting indicates that Trump’s foundation didn’t make any major contributions after that period, either.
In the weeks after the brutal attacks, Trump pledged $10,000 to the Twin Towers Fund as part of an effort Howard Stern was pushing. A report said Trump promised the donation in late September 2001, and the Daily News obtained audio of Stern’s Oct. 10, 2001, interview with Trump where both he and co-host Robin Quivers thanked him for that donation.
“He gave us $10,000,” Quivers said.
“Yes he did, to our fund,” Stern responded.
Trump didn’t dispute that he’d made that pledge. Stern was directing people to make out checks to the NYC Public Private Initiative at the time, using the “Howard Stern Relief Fund” as a marketing hook, as the website for the charity efforts shows.
The Daily News also reviewed every Form 990, which provides financial information for nonprofit companies or charities, for the Donald J. Trump Foundation from 2001 through 2014. There are no donations to the Twin Towers Fund or the NYC Public-Private Initiative listed.
The only Sept. 11th donation in those documents was a $1,000 donation in 2006 to the New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Fund, a group founded by Tom Cruise that used scientifically questionable methods approved by Scientology to help rescue workers.
The only recorded major donation to 9/11 causes that Trump has made was $100,000 from his foundation — which has been bankrolled by others without any money from Trump for years — to the 9/11 Museum in April 2016, as he sought to generate headlines after Ted Cruz attacked him for his “New York values” during the primary election.
After earlier reports suggested that the Trump Foundation hadn’t given anything to any Sept. 11th charity, his campaign implied he’d made donations to the American Red Cross after the attacks.
There is no evidence that the Trump Foundation did so, and the only way for Trump to prove he did so would be to release his tax returns — something he’s stubbornly refused to do throughout his presidential run.
Though it appears Trump didn’t donate directly to the Twin Towers Fund, his ex-wife Ivana held a fund-raiser for the cause at the end of October 2001, according to a report, which said she picked up the check for the 52 guests in attendance.
Trump’s apparent lie about donating to the Twin Towers Fund is the latest example of his misleading comments about his charitable giving — and his role in helping after the 9/11 attacks.
As the Daily News previously reported, Trump lied that $150,000 his company received from a government fund created to help small businesses recover after 9/11 was for reimbursement for his helping 9/11 victims by taking them in at his nearby building at 40 Wall St.
It’s also unclear whether Trump actually did help people at 40 Wall St., as he’s said. Trump’s campaign refused to respond to multiple requests for more information about his vague claims that he “allowed people, for many months, to stay in the building (40 Wall St.), use the building and store things in the building,” as he told Time Magazine in April.
Others who were intimately involved in 9/11 recovery efforts — as well as those who worked at the building at the time — have no recollection of Trump doing what he claimed he did.
“I don’t remember,” Nancy Lara, the building’s property manager at the time, told the Daily News in a recent phone call, after saying she wasn’t “inclined to talk about it.”
Lara defended Trump’s response after the attacks, saying “he did a lot” to make sure the air quality was safe and tenants would be fine in the building, which is near Ground Zero.
“Working for that organization, I can tell you everything was above board in terms of safety studies for people,” she said.