Donald Trump announced this week that he would be boycotting Thursday’s presidential debate, a decision he reached following a statement by Fox News refusing to cut moderator Megyn Kelly. In releasing his own statement on the matter, Donald Trump claimed he will instead be hosting a fundraiser for “veterans and wounded warriors” though, per usual, he offered very little specifics as to the organization. At least one veteran’s group, The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America – representing roughly 150,000 veterans across the country – says they do not want his money.
On Wednesday, the founder and CEO of the IAVA publicly slammed Trump for what he sees as a cynical, political move.
If offered, @IAVA will decline donations from Trump's event. We need strong policies from candidates, not to be used for political stunts.
— Paul (PJ) Rieckhoff (@PaulRieckhoff) January 27, 2016
Rieckhoff, who served in the Army in Iraq in 2003 and 2004, said Trump had not offered his organization any money so far, but insisted they would decline the funds.
The backlash was immediate, with a wave of online comments excoriating Rieckhoff for turning down the still-theoretical money. “You’d be hurting the very people you claim to be helping,” scolded one follower. “You will deny needy veterans because of your political agenda? You should resign or be fired!” cried another.
Others thanked Rieckhoff for standing up to a candidate they say has repeatedly used veterans as political props.