The Trump children have once again landed in hot water for trying to sell face-to-face time to the highest bidder.
On Monday, the Center for Public Integrity reported that a new nonprofit, the Opening Day Foundation, was planning a fundraiser in which donors would be given the opportunity to spend time with Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and the president-elect.
A $1 million donation initially was meant to buy a “private reception and photo opportunity for 16 guests” with Eric, Donald Jr and, according to sources reporting to the Wall Street Journal, the president-elect himself. $500,000 would have gotten donors a meet-and-greet with the Donald Trump and a “hunting and/or fishing excursion” with Eric and Donald Jr.
The event was organized to “celebrate the great American tradition of outdoor sporting, shooting, fishing and conservation.”
Despite the fact that their names are on the paper as leaders of the organization, the Trump family has distanced itself from the document, saying through a spokeswoman that: “The Opening Day event and details that have been reported are merely initial concepts that have not been approved or pursued by the Trump family.”
The registration document “will be amended,” she said, and the names of Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump will be taken off.
This is not the first time the Trump children, who are all playing key roles in their father’s transitional team, have sparked backlash for promoting pay-to-play events. Ivanka Trump faced criticism recently for auctioning off a 30-45 minute coffee date to the highest bidder. Funds for that meet-and-greet were set to benefit The Eric Trump Foundation to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The auction was canceled last week, amid deep-pocketed bidders discussing their intentions to talk policy with Ivanka Trump.
In an interview with the New York Times, Russell Ybarra, a Houston-based Tex-Mex restaurant-chain owner, said he had plunked down $67,888 in the hopes of discussing immigration with the president-elect’s daughter.
According to Norman Eisen, former White House chief ethics counselor, these conflict of interest issues could continue to overshadown the president-elect and his family’s time in office.
“How many times are they going to have to stub their toe?” Eisen told the New York Times. “If you continually have to reverse course and improvise, what is the point at which it becomes a sign of recklessness instead of willingness to do good will?”