Former President Donald Trump, as a candidate for office during the 2016 presidential election cycle, promised to donate his entire executive salary back to the federal government if he was chosen to be president. Half a year after he exited the White House, it’s unclear whether he fulfilled that pledge.
An analysis from The Washington Post cannot account for $220,000 of Trump’s salary donations. That amount is derived from the last six months he served in 2020 and the 20 days he served in January as president, during which time the White House made no formal announcements about where Trump was donating his income.
The Post sought to find out whether Trump donated his last bit of salary without fanfare. It surveyed every major agency in the federal government to see if he did. No agency reported a donation from Trump.
Trump frequently made a big deal about donating his earnings, at least 14 times, or once per quarter, during the first three-and-a-half years he was in office. But in the last two financial quarters of 2020, there were no formal announcements from the administration about donating the executive’s salary.
Trump may have been upset that he wasn’t receiving praise for his donations anymore, suggested Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold.
“In Trump’s public comments about this promise, you can see him getting more and more bitter about it — grousing that nobody is giving him credit,” Fahrenthold said on Twitter. “Then, in 2020, the White House stopped announcing any donations.”
It’s likely that many observers saw his supposedly charitable actions for what they were: political theater. Indeed, as Trump purportedly gave up getting paid while in office, he was earning more than 1,000 times back in profits from his businesses, from which he infamously refused to divest before becoming president.
Trump also reaped the benefits of millions in taxpayer dollars which were reportedly spent at several properties owned by the Trump Organization because of his frequent trips to them during his tenure in office.
As a former president, Trump continues to receive a presidential pension of more than $220,000 per year. (He has not made any promises to donate that income.) Trump also charged the Secret Service more than $40,000 in the first few months after leaving office for around-the-clock security at his resort, regardless of whether he or members of his family were on the premises.