Top Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway said Thursday that people in need are going to “suffer” because the sons of President-elect Donald Trump are pulling back from raising money for charity after coming under scrutiny for potential conflicts of interest.
Conway was addressing a recent report that revealed Trump’s older sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, were behind a nonprofit offering access to the president-elect in exchange for a $500,000 donation to conservation charities. The Trump transition team said neither Trump nor his sons were involved with the event. Eric Trump also canceled a charity auction of a coffee date with Ivanka Trump.
Conway, who will serve as a counselor to Trump in the White House, defended the Trump children.
“The idea that these folks are trying to help people in need and those people are going to suffer now because folks are pointing out what they think to be improprieties, I didn’t say I necessarily agree, I just think that they will always do the right thing. I know them well. They will always do what they perceive to be the right thing, regardless of who has a comment about it,” she said in an interview on CNN.
CNN “New Day” host Chris Cuomo pressed Conway on her defense, noting that Bill and Hillary Clinton also pointed to the good work that the Clinton Foundation did around the world to push back against accusations from Trump and others that the foundation was selling access to the Clintons in exchange for donations.
“I don’t know how that’s the same as Bill Clinton giving a million-dollar speech in Russia and then Hillary Clinton while secretary of state and giving 20 percent of the U.S. uranium interest away,” she said.
Cuomo insisted that it really wasn’t that different. “It’s paying money to get to power,” he said.
In September, watchdog group Charity Navigator gave the Clinton foundation a four-star rating ― its highest mark. Charity Navigator hasn’t ranked the Eric Trump Foundation, which the site notes “does not indicate a positive or negative assessment.”
President-elect Trump has boasted about the influence of his donations in the past.
“I’ve given to Democrats, I’ve given to Hillary, I’ve given to everybody, because that was my job, I have to give to them. Because when I want something I get it,” he said during the campaign. “When I call, they kiss my ass. It’s true, they kiss my ass.”
During the campaign, The Washington Post reported extensively on the president-elect’s philanthropic giving, finding that he gave far less than he claimed. Instead, he used charity money to cover legal costs and do things like purchase portraits of himself.