News & Politics

Trump's Attack on Media Obscured His Lies About Vet Donations

Photo by: DVT/STAR MAX/IPx 2016 5/31/16

Here is a Trump campaign press release from January 28 after the candidate spent an hour raising money for veterans organizations:

New York, NY) January 28th, 2016 – Today Donald J. Trump hosted an event to raise money for Veterans organizations in Des Moines, Iowa. The GOP frontrunner spoke to a record crowd at Drake University and was joined by special guests, including Senator Rick Santorum and Governor Mike Huckabee, as well as Veterans, throughout the night. Mr. Trump personally contributed $1 million dollars to the cause and raised an additional $5 million before the one-hour event concluded, totaling more than $6 million dollars.

Mr. Trump stated, “Our Veterans have been treated like third-class citizens and it is my great honor to support them with this $1 million dollar contribution – they are truly incredible people. We are going to strengthen our military, take care of our Vets and Make America Great Again.”

But between then and last week, it is unclear if any veterans organization received a penny from this fundraiser. And Donald Trump’s personal donation of $1 million did not go out to veterans groups until after a Washington Post reporter asked him about it on May 24th.

The Associated Press discovered that most of the veterans groups did not receive a check from Trump’s fundraiser until it became clear that it was going to become a campaign issue.

Jim Geraghty:

And no, the checks weren’t written in January and accidentally left sitting on a desk in the Trump organization somewhere.

The Associated Press spoke or left messages with each of the organizations Trump named. Of the 30 groups that responded by Tuesday, about half said they had received checks from Trump just last week.

Several said the checks were dated on or about May 24 — the date as Trump’s interview with the Post — and shipped out overnight.

Among them was the big check from Trump himself, written to the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation. Trump’s campaign had previously told the newspaper that his promised $1 million personal donation had already been distributed.

When Trump said that night in Iowa, “I refuse to be called a politician! Donald Trump gave $1 million, okay?’ what he really meant was, “someday, I might give one million, if I get asked about this boast enough by reporters.”

Anybody can promise they’re going to give a million dollars to veterans on some unspecified date in the future. You or I can do that. If you want to be credited for donating a million dollars to veterans, you have to actually donate one million to veterans.

If the press had left the issue alone, would Trump have ever sent any money out?

We don’t know because Donald Trump’s word can’t be trusted. His rant against the press, while exposing many truths, obscured a larger one: the press was right to ask him about the money. That’s their job. They do it in a partisan manner, to be sure. But like it or not, they are part of the process of choosing a president.

But Trump used his attack on the press to divert attention from the fact that he lied about the money. Only when it became clear that the press was going to make an issue of how much he raised and where it went did the checks flow from New York to the recipients.

This sort of dishonesty doesn’t appear to bother his supporters. Nor do the shocking revelations of fraud coming from the Trump University lawsuit. Trump supporters have come to accept a certain amount of sleaze associated with the candidate, so the campaign continues to roll along — lies and all.