During a press conference in New York this morning, an angry and irritated Donald Trump fired back at critics who had questioned his fundraising haul from a veterans event in January, insulting one ABC reporter in particular, and calling other members of the media “losers” who treated him unfairly.
Trump just called me a “sleaze.” Should be an interesting week.
— Tom Llamas (@TomLlamasABC) May 31, 2016
On his campaign website Monday, the GOP presumptive nominee showed $5.6 million raised in donations for an extensive list of charities, with apparently more donations coming in.
Trump had claimed during the fundraiser that he’d raised $6 million through a combination of pledges from wealthy friends, the public and $1 million from himself after a splashy telethon-style fundraiser he held in Iowa in January in place of the Fox debate.
But his campaign refused for months to disclose which charities had received the money, leading some news organizations and critics to speculate that the money raised was less than he had claimed.
“It was very unfair that the press treated us so badly,” Trump complained.
In January, donors sent money to the Donald J. Trump Foundation when the billionaire businessman held a fundraiser in Iowa – the same night he skipped a Fox News Republican debate. He said they raised $6 million and pledged to give the proceeds of the event to charity.
He also pledged to kick in $1 million of his own money to the cause.
The campaign for months, though, would not disclose which charities got the money, amid speculation that the fundraising haul was not as large as he claimed.
Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski initially told the Washington Post they raised about $4.5 million.
But last week, Lewandowski told “CBS This Morning” that Trump will ultimately give $5.5 million to $6 million to veteran groups. Lewandowski said $4.5 million had already been “attributed.”
The Donald assailed the media during the press conference at Trump Tower Tuesday morning, and suggested that they could expect similar treatment in the White House briefing room if he wins the presidency.
“People know the stories are false. I’m going to continue to attack the press,” Trump said. “Look, I find the press to be dishonest. I find the political press to be unbelievably dishonest.”
He added that “if the press writes false stories like they did where I wanted to keep a low-profile, I didn’t want the credit for raising all this money for the vets, I wasn’t looking for the credit. And by the way, more money is coming in. I wasn’t looking for the credit, but I had no choice but to do this because the press was saying I didn’t raise any money for them.”
“I have never received such bad publicity for doing such a good job,” Trump harrumphed. “The press should be ashamed of themselves.”
“I’m not looking for credit,” Trump said, singling out an ABC reporter for special invective for not appreciating the “millions of dollars” he’d raised for the worthy cause: “Like this sleazy guy right over here from ABC,” the billionaire real estate mogul said, pointing in the reporter’s direction. “He’s a sleaze in my book.”
“Why am I a sleaze?”ABC’s Tom Llamas could be heard asking.
“You’re a sleaze because you know the facts and you know the facts well,” Trump responded testily. He then handed the podium over to Alfred Baldasaro, a State representative from New Hampshire with ten years experience on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee and 22 years in the Marine Corps.