Eric Trump told The New York Times on Wednesday that he would no longer directly solicit contributions to his personal charity out of concerns that donors could expect access to the President-elect in return.
“As unfortunate as it is, I understand the quagmire,” Trump said of the Eric Trump Foundation. “You do a good thing that backfires.”
Trump’s adult children have come under fire in the past few weeks for fundraising efforts that offered donors face time with either them or their father. An online auction offering donors coffee with Ivanka Trump to raise money for the Eric Trump Foundation was canceled soon after the Times reported that businessmen bidders were openly vying for a chance to get the ear of the President-elect’s daughter.
Backlash this week over a draft invitation for a charity event offering donors a private meeting with the President-elect and a multi-day hunting trip with Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. prompted Trump’s sons to announce they would no longer participate in the fundraiser. They also reportedly moved to strip their names from the nonprofit hosting the event, which had listed them as directors.
Eric Trump has used his foundation to raise money for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, a Tennessee institution devoted to eradicating child cancer, since he was 21, according to the Times.
“Eric remains committed to raising awareness and will continue to advocate for finding a cure for childhood cancer,” the Trump family said in a statement to the newspaper.
This is the most direct move so far that the family has taken to address its tangled nest of conflicts of interest. Donald Trump has said that his two adult sons will manage the Trump Organization, even though ethics experts say that arrangement leaves the line between the family’s business and political interests far too blurry. Ivanka Trump is also reportedly planning to move to Washington, D.C. to act as an advisor to her father, and both she and her husband, Jared Kushner, may still receive official White House roles.