One can only hope the gift is “in the mail” as we speak, but I am definitely not going to hold my breath. As we might expect, the newlywed Duke and Duchess of Sussex ask for charitable donations in lieu of wedding gifts. Some national leaders donated to local charities promoting causes related to the young people’s interests, others were more creative, and some responses were just heartwarming — an abused Indian bull rescued, a couple of namesake koalas in an animal shelter with accompanying donations for habitat maintenance, and so on. And, then there was Donald J. Trump:
“White House spokesperson Lindsay Walters said last week the Trumps will make a contribution to one of the seven charities on the royal couple’s list but did not specify which one. Neither Trump tweeted about the wedding.” [USAT]
We’ve seen this movie before — and thanks to the intrepid reporting of David Fahrenthold of the Washington Post, we know that ‘the movie’ is an entire series, with more versions than Star Wars and Planet of the Apes combined. So, the contribution will be made to “one of the seven charities.” Which one?
“The couple have chosen charities, which represent a range of issues that they are passionate about, including sport for social change, women’s empowerment, conservation, the environment, homelessness, HIV and the Armed Forces. Many of these are small charities and the couple are pleased to be able to amplify and shine a light on their work.” [eonline]
Sport for social change? How likely is it that Trump will donate to a sport for social change charity while he’s busy vilifying professional athletes who are protesting police brutality toward ethnic minorities? Women’s empowerment? A donation from a man who has at least 16 public allegations of unwanted sexual conduct against him? Who faces legal actions from Summer Zervos and Stephanie Clifford?
Conservation? A donation from the father of two trophy animal slaughtering sons? A man whose administration allows the hunting of hibernating bears and their cubs? Allows the killing of vulnerable animals swimming in Alaskan rivers? Who allows the killing of wolf cubs? Probably not.
The environment? A donation from the man who won’t fire the egregious Scott Pruitt from his well protected perch at the EPA? From the man who promotes pipelines across sacred lands? From the self-same person who wants to roll back fuel efficiency standards?
Homelessness? A donation from a man whose administration is cutting funding for programs to help homeless people? [Newsweek] Whose administration is on track to make the situation worse? [WaPo] Not much chance for this category to make the cut.
HIV? Remember the interview with Bill Gates who describes two meetings with the President:
“Both times he wanted to know the difference between HIV and HPV and so I was able to explain that those are things that are rarely confused with each other.” [NBC]
Gates is being entirely too kind, almost NO ONE confuses the two diseases. Most people who don’t know, understand the difference when it’s explained ONCE.
Armed Forces? “Cadet Bone Spurs™” As he was so aptly described by Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) seems content to lie to newly minted Navy officers about pay increases [MilTimes] and to insure there’s funding for his parade. Other military and veterans’ issues not so much.
In addition to his endemic lack of interest in social change, empowerment, ecological, and real military issues Fahrenthold’s discoveries should be kept in mind. Trump will make grand promises. He will then:
- Try to get someone else to come up with the coin of the realm to actually pay for the donation.
- Try to avoid payment until there’s so much publicity he can’t stand the spotlight any longer.
- Stall until he doesn’t have to actually pay up at all.
Therefore, the best unsolicited advice for the young Duke and Duchess might be to enjoy their honeymoon and not worry about whether the ersatz leader of the US political system will cough up for a wedding gift donation — he probably won’t, and if he does you can be just as amazed as the rest of us.