Friday, October 26, 2012

Donald Trump Catches Flak For His 'Cash-For-Records' Charity Offer To President Obama

Posted By on Fri, Oct 26, 2012 at 11:33 AM

Since developer-turned-illogically-popular-celebrity Donald Trump made clear on Wednesday that his Barack Obama-related "bombshell" was a dud of an offer to charity, Trump had been getting a healthy dose of mockery directed his way.

First, Adam Gabbatt at the UK's Guardian newspaper called Trump with what seems to be a very fair request: Since he's calling Obama one of the least transparent politicians in our history, why not open up his own records to the public? After all, Trump mulled over a presidential run of his own before deciding to stand on the sidelines.

Strangely, Trump and his people took issue with the newspaper's counter-offer.


Trump announced on Wednesday that he would donate $5m to a charity of Obama's choosing, if the president handed over his "college records and applications, and passport application and records".

But when the Guardian contacted Trump's office to ask for Trump's college and passport records, it was accused of "trying to be funny" and the request was deemed to be "stupid".

"I tell you what, he'll provide them to you when you provide yours to him," said Michael Cohen, executive vice president at the Trump Organization and special counsel to Trump, in what began as a friendly encounter.

I readily agreed to the deal, and offered to provide my college records and passport-application records to the Trump office for inspection. That seemed to prompt a change of heart.

"But what's your point? Mr Trump's not the president of the United States and he's not running for the presidency," Cohen said. "And pretty much all you need to do is go to one of the thousand different books that Mr Trump has been featured in or has written and so on, and you could learn more about him than you know about pretty much anybody on the planet."

Which, of course, isn't the point, but who's to let a little thing like that ruin a good publicity stunt?

The story goes on to feature a longer back-and-forth between Cohen and Gabbatt which ends when Cohen makes an offer that he thought Gabbatt wouldn't accept:

...I attempted to steer the conversation back to the original suggestion — that Trump would turn over his records in exchange for mine, for free. Cohen promised that he would "take it up with Mr Trump".

"And by the way, while we're at it, I'd like to have all your authorisations under HIPAA, for all your medical records as well," Cohen said.

Happy to oblige, I asked for an address. But Cohen hung up.

But it doesn't stop there: Comedy Central's resident pundit parody Stephen Colbert made a classic offer of his own — but, considering that the video's language isn't exactly work-friendly, we're dropping that video below the jump.

Note that "dropping" is, indeed, the appropriate word in the context of this situation.

Teabaggings and medical records aside, I have to wonder if Trump is going to make good on his $5 million giveaway anyway — he's placing himself under considerable scrutiny, and potentially significant public pressure, if he decides that charities don't need his money if Obama doesn't give out records that he shouldn't have to give out anyway.

My guess: Trump makes a token donation at 5 p.m. on October 31, mocks Obama's "lack of transparency" in the middle of an election (despite the fact that giving into the demands of the man in the nice suit and terrible haircut would undoubtedly be pounced upon as weakness), and plugs his latest season of "The Apprentice." America, as a whole, rolls its eyes, and we all go back to our lives.

Trump deserves little more than that—though if someone argued that he could use two lumps in his tea, I'd find it hard to disagree with them.

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