Home / Elections 2016 / Trump Shamed Into Donating To Veterans, Blames ‘Dishonest And Disgusting’ Media
CREDIT: AP PHOTO/ANDREW HARNIK
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump appears on stage with fellow candidates Rick Santorum, left, and Mike Huckabee, right, at a Trump event in support of veterans at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016.
CREDIT: AP PHOTO/ANDREW HARNIK Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump appears on stage with fellow candidates Rick Santorum, left, and Mike Huckabee, right, at a Trump event in support of veterans at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016.

Trump Shamed Into Donating To Veterans, Blames ‘Dishonest And Disgusting’ Media

Previously (falsely) claimed that he had personally contributed $1 million to the January fundraiser for veterans.

 

PJ Rieckhoff, CEO of The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), at the time of Trump's fundraiser said the IAVA would decline donations from Trump. "We need strong policies from candidates, not to be used for political stunts." Credit: Twitter
PJ Rieckhoff, CEO of The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), at the time of Trump’s fundraiser said the IAVA would decline donations from Trump. “We need strong policies from candidates, not to be used for political stunts.” Credit: Twitter

In January, Donald Trump decided to skip a Fox News debate following a declaration from the news network that it would not ask Meghan Kelly to recuse herself as the event’s moderator, a feud stemming from earlier in the summer when the reporter challenged the GOP nominee about his history of insensitive remarks regarding women.

“Unlike the very stupid, highly incompetent people running our country into the ground, Mr. Trump knows when to walk away,” his campaign announced in a statement at the time. “He will not be participating in the Fox News debate and will instead host an event in Iowa to raise money for the Veterans and Wounded Warriors, who have been treated so horribly by our all talk, no action politicians.”

As promised, Trump skipped the debate – seen at the time as a critical blow to his chances of winning the Iowa caucus – and hosted a fundraising event at Drake University which also included fellow presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee. He claimed at the time that he had raised over $6 million for veterans, personally contributing $1 million to the cause.

Despite being scrutinized by major veterans groups opposed to being used for a political stunt – from a candidate with zero public service or armed forces experience, no less – Trump bragged and lauded himself for the event, saying it “could not have been better.”

“I did something great for veterans,” Trump said at the time, “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.”

And yet, suspicions began to arise over the money raised and donations alleged almost immediately.

A report last month from the Wall Street Journal detailed that the promised beneficiaries had apparently only received “a fraction of the money.  Trump refused to directly answer these criticisms, saying “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.”

Not exactly.

Trump adviser Corey Lewandowski revealed Friday that the fundraiser netted less than Trump’s claims, and a Washington Post reporter via Twitter investigated whether any veterans groups had posted about receiving the money Trump allegedly raised, and found nothing.

Via Think Progress:

Perhaps realizing he was being caught not delivering on his promise, Trump apparently tried to make up for lost time. The Post reports that on Monday, Trump called the home of James K. Kallstrom, chairman of the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, and informed him he would be giving $1 million to his organization. It remains unclear whether any other veterans organization has received a donation stemming from Trump’s fundraiser since the Journal’s report was published, though the Post reports that the founder of Boston’s annual Wounded Vet Bike Run received a call from the Trump campaign on Tuesday, which suggests more donations could be forthcoming.

Trump’s excuse for the months-long delay? “You have a lot of vetting to do,” he told reporters on Tuesday, according to the Post. But that rationale is drawn into question by the fact the Donald J. Trump Foundation had previously contributed to the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation.

Naturally, Trump took to Twitter to spin the story as an example of how he is repeatedly targeted by the “dishonest and disgusting” media.

Despite Trump’s insistence of unfair scrutiny from the press (a laughable claim), this is far from the first occasion of Trump caught exaggerating/outright lying about his generosity.

During the fall campaign, Trump repeatedly touted claims of donating “over $102 million” to charitable foundations over the previous half-decade, but another Washington Post investigation found these claims to be patently false, as more than half of the 4,844 donations Trump claimed to have made were actually just free rounds of golf at his facilities.

A 2011 Smoking Gun investigation of the Trump Foundation’s IRS returns concluded that “Trump may be the least charitable billionaire in the United States.”

How miserly is The Donald?

From 1990 through 2009, Trump has personally donated a total of just $3.7 million to his foundation, which was incorporated in 1987. In fact, the billionaire is not even the largest contributor to his own charitable organization.

Both the amount of money Trump has donated to his own foundation as well as the aggregate contributions made by the not-for-profit group are pitiful when compared to the philanthropy of other high-profile tycoons like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Larry Ellison, Ted Turner, Michael Bloomberg, David Geffen, or S.I. Newhouse.

For example, in 2008 alone, Bloomberg’s charitable contributions totaled $235 million. In 2009, Ellison gave his medical foundation stock worth $73.2 million, according to IRS records. Newhouse’s foundation reported making donations totaling $11.8 million on its 2009 IRS return. And a tax return filed last year revealed that the late entertainer Johnny Carson even left his charitable foundation $156 million.

The findings are unsurprising, but nonetheless more disturbing lies from a man seeking to become the most powerful person in the world. Trump claims his net worth is $8.7 billion, yet numerous analysts place him at closer to $2.9 billion based on a review of publicly held assets.

He’s been caught repeatedly under-valuing his properties in an attempt to pay less tax locally, and the last time his personal taxes were released, they showed that he didn’t pay any income tax.

But, according to The Donald, his taxes are none of our business.

About Adam Ciminello

Entrepreneurship, Social Justice, and the idea of Bono never performing again are all things that excite me. And yes, my grandma is cooler than yours. Say hi sometime on twitter @Aciminello

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