Trump himself has conditioned past charitable donations on forcing political figures to do what he wants.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham dismissed an offer this week from two authors who said they would donate $200,000 to charity if she held a press briefing.
The White House has long abandoned the traditional briefings, with the last one being held in March 2019.
On Thursday, authors Don Winslow and Stephen King offered to donate $200,000 to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital if Grisham agreed to take press corps questions for one hour in the White House briefing room
Grisham criticized their offer for having "strings attached."
"If you have $200,000 to play with, why not just help children because it’s a good thing to do? Donations to charity should never come with strings attached," she told CNN on Thursday.
Grisham's boss, Donald Trump, has himself attached "strings" to past charitable offers.
In 2012, Trump offered to donate $5 million to charity if then-President Barack Obama released his college records and "passport applications," ostensibly a reference to the racist "birther" conspiracy that claims Obama was not born in the United States, which Trump has pushed repeatedly.
"If Barack Obama opens up and gives his college records and applications, and if he gives his passport applications and records, I will give, to a charity of his choice — inner city children in Chicago, American Cancer Society, AIDS research, anything he wants — a check, immediately, for $5 million," Trump said in a video statement.
Two years later, Trump repeated the offer, increasing the total to $50 million.
In July 2018, Trump offered $1 million for charity if Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) took a DNA test proving she had Native American ancestry. Warren is not a member of any American Indian tribes, but has claimed native ancestry in past official law documents. (She later apologized for the move.) Though Warren did eventually release DNA results, Trump did not ultimately keep his promise.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Grisham's remarks this week.
Rather than holding tradition press briefings, Grisham has repeatedly appeared on Fox News and Fox Business Network over the past six months.
Trump, who has routinely dubbed himself the "most transparent" president "in history," occasionally takes questions at impromptu press gaggles from the White House lawn or driveway. Hhowever his administration has simultaneously attempted to crack down on access, revoking press passes from many White House reporters.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.