Former President Trump announced each year of his presidency that he was giving away his salary. As a candidate in 2016, he told “60 Minutes” Lesley Stahl he’d justa year.
His tax returns don’t specify that he did so, but in three of the years of his presidency, Trump declared charitable gifts “by cash or check” that exceeded his $400,000 annual salary as president. One year, the last year of his presidency, does not.
In 2017, he noted $1,860,963 in charitable contributions by cash or check. That year, the White House announced Trump’s first salary donation, which wasfor his first three months in office, would go to the National Park Service to help pay for maintenance of the nation’s battlefields.
One quarter’s salary went to a Small Business Administration program to help veterans. Another quarter’s pay went to fight the opioid crisis.
In 2018, Trump listed $500,150 in donations by cash or check, and in 2019, slightly more — $504,700.
In 2020, the number that appears on that contributions line is 0.
However, forensic accountant Bruce Dubinsky says it’s not possible to decipher from the tax returns whether or not Trump actually donated his salary.
“There is no backup schedule that breaks down where the $500,150 in charitable deductions claimed in 2018 went,” Dubinsky told CBS News. “Typically, when the taxpayer claims a charitable deduction for that large amount of money, the tax preparer includes a detailed list of who the money went to. In Trumps 2018 tax return, for instance, there is no such schedule, so we really don’t know if he was telling the truth when he said he donated his presidential salary to charity.”