|Trump posing during his January veterans' "fundraiser" event|
Remember over four months ago when Donald Trump skipped a major GOP debate because Megyan Kelly said mean things to him at the previous debate. He then, instead of attending the debate, held a self aggrandizing televised fundraiser "for the veterans" in order to garner positive press covering up the predominant theory that he was a thin skinned little boy who couldn’t stand being harshly questioned by a grown woman.
At the end of the event, in which Trump named nine big donors (including a million dollars of his own money), Trump proclaimed it a huge success exclaiming.…
“We just cracked $6 million, right? Six million.”
Days after the event, Trump lauded himself for an event that could “not have been better.” “I did something great for veterans,” he claimed, adding, “You know, as they say when something works out, it was a ten. And I didn’t know it was going to be a ten.”
Trump then proceeded to use the $6 million dollar figure as a public relations talking point for himself in the days following the fundraiser as he campaigned for votes in the Republican primary. Trump repeatedly touted the 6 million dollar figure in several TV appearances and at Iowa rallies saying...
“At that rally we raised, in one hour, $6 million. Is that good?”
Then things started to unravel.
Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that the promised beneficiaries had apparently received just a “fraction of the promised money.” Trump deflected these criticisms, telling CBS News
“I don’t have the final numbers, but the money we raised for veterans has been mostly distributed. We’re looking for some other really worthy places to distribute the final [funds] … But for the most part, it has been distributed. We raised millions of dollars.”
Now it has been revealed in a new Washington Post article Trump’s claim that he raised $6.5 million for veterans was a lie.
In the article Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski all but admitted the scam claiming that the fundraiser actually netted about 75 percent of the original estimate with the total coming in at about $4.5 million.
Never one to take blame Trump’s spokesman told the Post the shortfall should be blamed not on Trump but on Trump’s own wealthy acquaintances instead. He said some of them had promised big donations that Trump was counting on when he said he had raised $6 million but Lewandowski said those donors backed out and gave nothing.
“There were some individuals who he’d spoken to, who were going to write large checks, [who] for whatever reason . . . didn’t do it. I can’t tell you who.”
Lewandowski also said he did not know whether a $1 million pledge from Trump himself was counted as part of the $4.5 million total. He said Trump has given that amount, but he declined to identify any recipients.
The comments appear to be the first acknowledgment — almost four months later — that Trump’s fundraiser had brought in less than the candidate said and interestingly they come one day before Armed Forces Day, the day designated for “citizens to come together and thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country.”
The question now is if he had raised even the newly reported 4.5 million where has it gone and why hasn’t it been dispersed. Trump provided no official way for charities to apply for the money. Groups around the country still tried, sending letters and hitting up local veterans-for-Trump leaders.
In recent weeks, when confronted with reports of Trump’s shorting veterans on the amount he promised, he and his campaign have repeatedly declined to give new details about how much they have given away.
Trump said in an interview with The Post this month...
“Why should I give you records? I don’t have to give you records.”
Paul Rieckhoff, founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said Trump’s refusal to divulge how much of the money he had distributed raised questions about whether the candidate intended the fundraiser primarily as a public-relations effort for himself...
“That’s just shady. Right? No matter how you cut it, that’s just shady. If he was going to make it right, a couple of weeks before Memorial Day would be a good time to do it. It behooves him, not just politically but ethically, to come forward and account for this money.”
Judy Schaffer of Heroes to Heroes a New Jersey-based group that sends veterans on nondenominational trips to Israel to prevent suicide and promote “spiritual healing.” said…
“We haven’t heard anything. We have a waiting list of over 200 veterans. Many of them have already attempted suicide. And it keeps me up at night, not being able to send more people.”
Iraq War Veteran and Chairman of VoteVets.org, Jon Soltz said...
“Donald Trump is a cheap fraud. In a classic fraud move, made himself look good to the public, by lying to the American people, and veterans, about how much he raised for veterans’ groups, when he hid behind them to get out of the GOP debate. He said he raised $6 million. Now, when investigated by reporters, he finally admits that he overstated the amount by millions, and never raised what he told people he did. In fact, there may still be groups who are waiting for their check.
We now need to presume that he is lying about how much he claims he has given to veterans over the years, and that’s part of the reason he won’t release his taxes.”
Trump is a fraud and a con man and hopefully the Republican's who plan to vote for him realize it before he takes us all down.
*UPDATE: As of May 24th The Washington Post reported that after a very public shaming Donald Trump called James K. Kallstrom, chairman of the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, and informed him he would finally be giving the $1 million he had promised to his organization. It remains unclear whether any other veterans organization has received a donation stemming from Trump's fundraiser since report.