The Trump Foundation is out of business, if it ever was exactly in business. This is breaking news, today—“The Donald J. Trump Foundation will close and give away all its remaining funds in response to a lawsuit filed by the New York attorney general’s office, which had accused the Trump family of using the charity for self-dealing and political gain, the office announced on Tuesday,” was how the New York Times newswrote it—but it is a special and characteristic kind of Trump-era breaking news. It’s not a surprise or a revelation or any sort of plot twist; it is preexisting news, news that already happened or was already going to happen, but nobody had gotten around to it.
How many of these stories are out there now, waiting, like the “Resume Watching” button when you log into your library of streaming movies? The scandal with the presidential inauguration funds—that one was right there all along, from January 2017, when they raked in all those tens millions of dollars so the Trumps and Pences could go trudging down an empty street past empty bleachers. And then in February of this year there was news about how $26 million of it had gone to a single event planner with Trump family connections. Clearly the money got put somewhere, clearly that was somewhere it wasn’t supposed to go, sooner or later they’re going to sort out where.
The salacious gossip works the same way as the official investigations. There was the sensation around the former Apprentice person, doing standup, claiming Trump snorts crushed Adderall. Probably the details were worked up for comic effect, but people have been saying for decades he’s wrecked on cheap speed.
Political coverage normally runs on the assumption that the statute of limitations on a problem ends with an election. If a candidate can stonewall long enough to win, then the people have demonstrated that it’s no longer news. Trump’s scandals, though, keep circling back around.
So now the Foundation is back. The Washington Post reported in 2016 in detail about how it was nothing but a slush fund for expenses billed by Trump properties and for Trump to buy himself presents with. Today it continues slowly going the way any ridiculous fraud would go, when people have time to pay attention to it.