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It Looks Like Trump Lied About Donating His Presidential Salary

I bet he lied about the hamburgers, too.

PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 15: Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an event at his Mar-a-Lago home on November 15, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida. Trump announced that he was seeking another term in office and officially launched his 2024 presidential campaign.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Remember when Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election (I know, I don’t like thinking about it either) and he claimed he would donate his entire presidential salary—a hefty sum of $400,000 a year—to charity? He sure loved talking about it. During his campaign in 2015, he tweeted that he wouldn’t keep “even one dollar” of his salary, claiming that he would “totally [give] up my salary if I become president.” In March 2019, he tweeted that “While the press doesn’t like writing about it, nor do I need them to, I donate my yearly Presidential salary of $400,000.00 to different agencies throughout the year.”

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To his credit, Trump actually did make donations to various government agencies, like the National Parks Service. However, thanks to the release of his tax returns from 2015 to 2020, we now know more about his history of donations—and there’s a significant gap. According to CNN, Trump claimed no charitable donations at all on his 2020 tax return, making it extremely unlikely that he donated that year’s salary. Plus, many of the charitable donations he claimed in previous years are “unsubstantiated.”

Did the enormous loss he claimed on his 2020 taxes mean that he needed the $400,000 to scrape by? Did he just get bored and spiteful after losing the 2020 election? We don’t know for sure what happened to that money, but what his tax returns make clear is that, after promising to donate every last cent of his salary, he failed to keep that promise. Quelle suprise.

The tax returns have plenty of other revelations besides the salary donations—including business expenses that are miraculously identical, down to the last dollar, to the profits from those businesses—which makes his tax liability for said businesses zero dollars.

Trump’s tax returns have me thinking about the time he hosted the Clemson Tigers, the 2019 national college football champions, at the White House. Trump clearly didn’t want them there, and instead of springing for catering, he fed them mountains of fast food. The whole fiasco was trashy, racist, and disrespectful—made even more so by Trump’s inability to shut up about how he had paid for the burgers out of pocket.

One thing we know about Trump is that the more he blathers on about having paid for something, the less likely he is to have actually ponied up all the cash he said he would. The man is a chronic liar and a lifelong miser, and the sooner he’s out of the public eye, the better.

(featured image: Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

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Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href=""></a>

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