If you're interested in contributing to the ad hoc fundraiser for veterans that Donald Trump cobbled together this week to air against the Fox News debate he's skipping, you can head over to DonaldTrumpforVets.com. (The site was also cobbled together this week; the domain name was purchased Thursday.) Your donation, should you add to the "over $130,000 raised today" that the site trumpeted as of this writing, will go to something called the Donald J. Trump Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that has been around since 1988.
A possible reason that it is called the "Donald J Trump Foundation" and not the "Donald Trump for Vets Foundation," beyond the political expediency that the latter offers, is that the Donald J. Trump Foundation hasn't given a lot to veterans or veterans groups. The Weekly Standard's John McCormack detailed that giving, contrasting the $57,000 the Trump Foundation gave veterans groups from 2009 to 2013 with the $100,000 it gave to the William J. Clinton Foundation in 2009 alone.
It's worth noting, too, that from 2001 to 2013 — the period for which federal reporting forms are available — the largest gifts to the foundation didn't come from Trump. Over that period, he gave about $2.8 million, none of it after 2008. The biggest donor? The WWE, as in World Wrestling Entertainment.
The foundation also got large gifts from NBC, "Celebrity Fight Night" and Comedy Central, no doubt linked to its 2011 roast of the real estate titan.
While raising money through the Donald J. Trump Foundation to give to veterans may seem a bit odd, there's nothing unseemly about it. It allows Trump and his team to figure out where to direct the money without having to cobble something together over the short term. Giving money to the United Way, for example, means giving to other nonprofits down the line.
But it also means that in the less than 24 hours that the site has been live, Donald Trump for Vets has provided more for the Donald J. Trump Foundation than Trump himself did from 2009 to 2013. Assuming that the "over $130,000 raised" is accurate. Since we've been watching, the number hasn't changed.
Note: The Trump Foundation filing lists the donor to the organization as WWE. In an email, a spokesperson for the wrestling group suggested that the donations were personal contributions from Vince and Linda McMahon, the head of the company.