Before Christmas, Eric Trump said he planned to “suspend” his charitable foundation, ceasing all its fundraising, while his father was president. “No new money will come into the ETF bank account,” Eric Trump said then, referring to the Eric Trump Foundation. The aim was to prevent the appearance of conflicts of interest if donors to the son's charity benefited from actions of the father's presidency.
Now, however, Eric Trump says he has found another solution.
Instead of suspending the foundation, Trump said, he would step away from it himself — resigning his position as president — and take his name off the charity. The charity would continue to be run by others.
“I have notified St. Jude in my year end letter of my resignation and resigned from the organization,” Trump said in an email this week. The Eric Trump Foundation has given the bulk of its money to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, which named a surgical center and intensive-care unit in the foundation's honor after a $20 million pledge.
How did Trump come up with this idea? He credited The Washington Post.
Before Christmas, in an interview conducted over email, this Post reporter had asked President-elect Donald Trump's second son why he had chosen to suspend his foundation — and why he had ruled out other options.
“Why wouldn’t it work for you to step away personally but leave the ETF functioning?” I asked Trump.
At the time, Trump said he hadn’t thought much about that option. “I will however think about your suggestion,” he said.
This week, he said that The Post's question had led him to the new solution.
“I used your idea David,” he wrote in an email. “I am completely removing myself, my name and the co-founders of the organization are going to continue the mission in my absence.”
Trump said he did not know what the foundation's new name would be. A search of the online database of New York nonprofits, run by the state government, still showed the Eric Trump Foundation under its old name on Tuesday. Trump said he was not sure when paperwork would be filed to change it.
Trump's decision to resign from his foundation, rather than shuttering it, was first reported by the New York Times.
Trump said that he has raised more than $15 million of the $20 million promised to St. Jude, including $7.9 million that came directly from the Eric Trump Foundation, and millions more that were given directly to St. Jude after fundraisers he helped organize. A spokeswoman for St. Jude did not respond to The Post's queries about Trump's decision.
Donald Trump has promised to shut down his own namesake charity, the Donald J. Trump Foundation — which is under investigation by the New York attorney general, after The Post revealed multiple instances where Trump appeared to have used the charity's money in ways that benefited his for-profit businesses. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) has said the charity cannot legally shut down until that investigation is finished.