Melania Trump’s charity scandal worsens

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Melania “Be Best” Trump has a knack for creating new scandals that suggest she is out to make money in shady and possibly illegal ways. Her scandals often follow the same pattern of three stages: 1) The press reports the facts; 2) A supposedly insulted Melania cries fake news; and 3) A subsequent development only makes things worse for her. When I wrote a few weeks ago about Melania’s “exclusive high tea” scandal, it was past stage 2. Now, the pattern is complete.

Melania was planning an “exclusive high tea” event for April 9 in Naples, Florida. The ticket prices were steep—$3,000 to $50,000 per person—with an undisclosed amount of the proceeds going to a computer science scholarship charity for children who grew up in foster care. After The New York Times reported that Melania’s charity, “Fostering the Future, a Be Best Initiative,” was not duly registered, Florida opened an investigation.

Predictably, Melania shot back with a tweet dismissing the scandal as “[d]ishonest reporting at it again.” She then went on record to insist that “[e]verything has been done lawfully, & all documents are in the works.” For good measure, she repeated her aggrieved victim-of-fake-news defense: “Read with caution-typical corrupt media.”

The day after my article on this, Melania issued a formal statement in response to The New York Times. She doubled down by accusing the media of creating a “narrative whereby I am trying to act in an illegal or unethical manner.” Calling the portrayal “simply untrue,” she also claimed that people who question her legal compliance “are quite literally dream killers.” Curiously, the one thing Melania did not address in her lengthy statement was the allegation at hand along with the question of whether she would benefit from the proceeds.

Florida regulators have now wrapped up their investigation and concluded that the company working with Melania did not comply with the law. Florida’s state law requires organizations to report how charitable donations will be spent after first registering with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.


The organizers of Melania’s event finally registered this week (on March 3), according to new reporting from The New York Times. With the Department’s investigation closed, Melania’s high tea event scheduled for April 9 is canceled and an undisclosed amount of proceeds raised so far are being diverted to a properly registered charity. Stage 3 is now complete.

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