Former First Lady Melania Trump lashed out after Florida officials initiated a probe into an upcoming Florida fundraiser featuring her for a charity that is not registered in the state.
Fostering the Future, described as an initiative of Melania's Be Best campaign focusing on well-being for youth and advocating against cyberbullying, apparently aims to fund computer science scholarships for youths who have been in foster care.
But it is unclear if the charity, which has sold tickets to an “exclusive high tea” April 9 featuring Trump, even exists. VIP tickets reportedly go for $50,000 and tickets for patrons are going for $3,000.
According to The New York Times, officials at the Consumer Services Division, which regulates charitable organizations, could not find evidence of a required registration, which prompted the inquiry.
Trump later responded to the story on Twitter, calling its reporting an example of "typical corrupt media" and claiming to be working with Bradley Impact Fund, a donor-advised fund affiliated with the Bradley Foundation, which largely champions conservative causes.
While a website for Fostering the Future exists, it is for the nonprofit organization Children’s Rights Inc., which is headquartered in New York City. The organization's website does not mention the former First Lady, Be Best, or the upcoming fundraiser.
The Bradley Impact Fund has also been linked to efforts the undermine the 2020 election, the same one that the former First Lady's husband Donald Trump continues to falsely allege was fraudulent despite all evidence to the contrary.
Trump's response to the story, specifically her remark that "all documents are in the works," also gave the impression that charities have not actually been picked yet, a detail that placed her under further scrutiny.
Many did not think Trump's story added up.
The controversy surrounding the former First Lady's event comes amid larger reports about how the Trump family has sought to profit financially since her husband left office.
Last month, the former First Lady saw her online hat auction upended after the value of cryptocurrencies plummeted, dealing a heavy blow to investors worldwide.
She had earlier announced she'd be auctioning off a hat for a starting bid of $250,000. Her personal website, MelaniaTrump.com, had only allowed bids to be made in cryptocurrency, a decision that backfired after prices for several cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin and Ethereum, cratered.
Her website had promised that the proceeds from the auction of her personal items, including the wide-brimmed white hat she'd worn to meet French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte during an April 2018 state visit, would "provide foster care children with access to computer science and technology education."
Reporters with The Washington Post checked the hat auction two days before its indeterminate ending time and found that the starting bid had dropped, and continued to fluctuate, around $155,916. Ahead of the crash, bids had exceeded $275,000.
The auction was no doubt affected by the crash because it only accepted bids in Solana (SOL), one of the hardest hit, whose blockchain experienced an outage.
The auction later appeared to close, with the hat going for $90,000 below the asking price.