CLEVELAND — On Monday morning, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told a group of Republican convention delegates a story about Donald Trump's generosity. After the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, Christie said, his wife Mary Pat Christie had asked Trump for a donation to a New Jersey disaster-relief fund.
“He said, 'How much does the check need to be? Just tell me and I’ll send it,' ” Christie told the crowd, according to an account on the news website northjersey.com.
But then, Monday afternoon, a spokesman said Christie "misspoke." The spokesman, Brian Murray, appeared to be indicating that Trump had not donated anything to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund, which was run by Mary Pat Christie.
"Mr. Trump has given to other New Jersey charities, including the Drumthwacket Foundation," Murray said. He was responding to questions from The Washington Post, which noted that the New Jersey disaster-relief fund did not list Trump among its major donors.
The Drumthwacket Foundation, which cares for New Jersey's historic governor's mansion, has received at least $40,000 since 2010 from the Donald J. Trump Foundation — a charity which Trump controls, but which is stocked with other people's money.
Tax records, in fact, show no gifts at all from Trump to his name-branded foundation since 2008.
Officials at the Drumthwacket Foundation said that Trump had never given any other gifts, out of his own pocket.
Murray did not specify which other New Jersey charities he was referring to.
Murray also did not answer a question about why Christie — recently passed over by Trump during his search for a running mate — had “misspoken” on Monday morning. Was it a fault of Christie’s memory, recounting a pledge that Trump never made in the first place? Had Trump indeed made the pledge, but never delivered?
Murray did not answer.
Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for Trump, also did not respond to a request for comment from The Washington Post on Monday.
Trump has made repeated claims that he gives millions of dollars of his own money to charity. For weeks, The Washington Post has been searching for evidence that Trump made good on those promises. So far, The Post has called more than 220 charities with connections to Trump, asking if he had made recent personal donations.
That search has turned up little between 2008 and this May (when Trump, under media pressure, made good on a promise to give $1 million to a veterans charity). In that span, The Post found just one donation. It came in 2009: Trump gave less than $10,000 to a New York chapter of the Police Athletic League.
Trump has not released his tax returns, defying a recent tradition among presidential nominees. Those returns might show the extent of his giving to charity.
But more details about his charity may come out this week, during the Republican convention in Cleveland. On Sunday, Trump campaign official Paul Manafort told Fox News that the convention would highlight Trump's "philanthropy."
No more details about that plan have been released.