UPDATED, 2:18 PM: The First Couple this afternoon announced the organizations that will receive portions of their $1M donation to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. At one of her briefings last week, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had solicited advice as to which groups should get the cash, which she said was at Trump’s request. And on Tuesday she reported the list included some of the suggestions made by members of the media. It also includes a few organizations that reportedly abandoned plans to host fundraisers at President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort after Trump’s controversial remarks about the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Salvation Army, Red Cross and American Cancer Society were on that list reported by WaPo on August 24.
Here is the White House statement on Donald and Melania Trump’s personal donation to Hurricane Harvey relief ffforts:
President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump announced today a personal donation of $1 million dollars to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts and have designated twelve organizations to receive contributions. The President and First Lady witnessed the work of some of these groups first hand while visiting with hurricane survivors, first responders, volunteers, and Federal, State, and local officials, and are proud to further assist the recovery efforts in Texas. Several of the following organizations were recommended, at the invitation of the President, by members of the White House Press Corps, and he would like to thank those who made recommendations for their attention to this important cause. The President and First Lady continue to pray for the people of Texas and Louisiana.
Reach Out America: $100,000
Red Cross: $300,000
Salvation Army: $300,000
Samaritan’s Purse: $100,000
Catholic Charities: $25,000
Direct Relief: $25,000
Habitat for Humanity: $25,000
Houston Humane Society: $25,000
Operation Blessing: $25,000
Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategies: $25,000
Team Rubicon: $25,000
PREVIOUSLY, August 31: President Donald Trump is joining celebrities who have pledged $1M of their own money to help flood victims in Texas, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced during today’s press briefing.
“I’m happy to tell you that he has said he would like to join in the effort,” Sanders told reporters. “He will pledge proudly a million dollars of his own personal money to help the people in Texas.”
The announcement puts Trump in company with Leonardo DiCaprio and Sandra Bullock who, likewise, have pledged $1M of their own money to help victims of the historic hurricane.
Asked if Trump’s money would come from the Trump Foundation or the Trump Organization, Sanders responded: “He said he is personally going to give [the money]. I don’t know the legal part of that exactly…. He said his personal money.”
She said Trump had asked that she check “with the folks in this room” because “you are very good at research and are doing a lot of reporting” as to which organizations are most effective in disseminating money to victims, to “take some suggestions” as to where Trump should send his million.
In other press briefing news, acting Homeland Security Secretary Tom Bossert said Mexico and Canada had contacted Trump to send condolences and offer assistance to those hammered by Harvey.
“We very much appreciate that. … The president was deeply touched by those phone calls,” Bossert told reporters. “We appreciate the neighborly gesture.”
An estimated 100,000 homes have been damaged in the storm that hit Texas on Friday, and 7,000 patients are being moved from hospitals impacted by outages, he said, among the stats ticked off. He walked through White House plans to send to Congress supplemental spending “bites of the apple” on recovery but said he is “not worried at all we don’t have money” for operations already underway or in the months ahead.
Asked how the administration would prevent the kind of rent price gouging that went on after Hurricane Katrina, Bossert assured that “[Attorney General] Jeff Sessions will not tolerate gouging” and that anyone trying to do so should “expect law enforcement to come down on them with a hammer.”
Gas prices around the country will be impacted by the hurricane but “hopefully not large” or long-running, he acknowledged.
Undocumented immigrants needing help in impacted areas should not be worried about being deported “unless they have committed a crime” above and beyond entering the country, Bossert said, promising no one will “starve or die of thirst or exposure.” But he said not to expect a lot of benefits funded by taxpayers to go to illegal immigrants victimized by the hurricane going forward.