THE BRONX — Despite Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.'s decision to boycott Donald Trump's golf course in Throgs Neck over his comments on Mexicans and Muslims, his campaign said it could not return a donation that Trump had made to Diaz in 2012.
Donald and Eric Trump both gave $320 to Diaz’s campaign that year, while Donald Trump Jr. gave him $250 in 2007, according to the New York City Campaign Finance Board.
Alex Gomez, who is running for City Council in District 13, which includes the golf course, said that Diaz could have made a stronger statement about his distaste for Trump by rejecting his contribution rather than not going to the gold course.
"I think he could have made a bigger statement by saying, look, I took money from this guy. I don’t agree with him. I don’t stand for him. Let me give back the money that he gave me," he said. "I think that would have made a bigger statement."
Diaz cannot give back Trump's donation because the election cycle he contributed to is over and the money is no longer there, and the equivalent would be giving Trump a gift of $320 from Diaz's new campaign committee that Trump did not contribute to, according to Kalman Yeger, a spokesman for the Diaz campaign.
The donations from the Trumps in 2007 and 2012 total $890, and Diaz gives far more than this amount of money to charity from campaign funds every year, Yeger said.
Records show his campaign gave $1,700 this year to the Amadou Diallo Foundation, a group that provides scholarships to students who have immigrated to the United States from Africa or who are of African descent.
Jeanne Zaino, a political science professor at Iona College, said it would still make sense politically for Diaz to donate at least the $320 from Trump to a charity that represents Latino or Muslim interests.
"If he firmly believes that he needs to boycott Trump, then you think he would follow through on that regardless of how much money he gives to other causes—and good for him for doing that," she said.
She applauded Diaz for taking a stand against Trump's rhetoric but described it as "strange" that this stand did not include doing something about his donation.
"If it’s not difficult to donate $300, they should do it," she said.