In 2007, Donald Trump promised a donation to the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, a U.S.-based charity that provides aid to Israeli military personnel and the families of fallen Israeli soldiers.
He didn’t pay, a spokesman for the charity said Thursday.
Instead, another person — who the charity did not name — paid off Trump’s promise, according to Ryan Greiss, the spokesman. Greiss would also not release the amount of Trump’s unpaid pledge, citing privacy rules.
Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for Trump’s campaign, did not respond to messages sent by text and email Thursday asking about the charity’s account.
The files of the Donald J. Trump Foundation — a nonprofit of which Trump is president — show no donations from Trump to the charity in 2007 or 2008. The only donation from Trump’s charity to the group appears to be a $350 gift in 2011, at a time when the bulk of the foundation’s money was supplied by other donors. Tax filings show no gifts at all from Trump to his own foundation since 2008.
And it does not appear that Trump has made recent donations to the group out of his own pocket, either. Greiss said the charity has not received a personal donation from Trump since at least 1997. [Trump has not released his recent tax returns, unlike past major-party nominees. If released, they might reveal what he gives to charity out of his own pocket.]
In this presidential campaign, Trump has sought to portray himself as a strong supporter of Israel: On Wednesday, he tweeted that “The Republican platform is the most pro-Israel of all time!” But he has also portrayed himself as a even-handed potential mediator between Israel and Palestinian leaders, saying he needed to appear unbiased to cut that deal: “Let me be sort of a neutral guy,” he said in an MSNBC town hall in February.
The Friends of the Israel Defense Forces say it provides “love, support and care” to Israeli military personnel, as well as veterans of the Israeli military and families of those wounded and killed. In 2007, the group’s Florida chapter held a “poker and casino night” fundraiser at the Trump International Sonesta Beach Resort in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla. Greiss, the spokesman for the Friends of the IDF, said he was not sure whether Trump’s pledge was related to that event.