This past week, Presidential hopeful candidate Donald Trump got into yet another brewhaha at a presser with members of the media. Under normal circumstances, most Americans following the Trump media circus would simply have shrugged their shoulders and moved on to the next real story, but this time it was different. This time, it was about whether or not Mr. Trump really did what he claimed he did when he asserted that he raised $6M dollars for veteran’s verses attending a scheduled GOP debate. What we’ve learned as this story unraveled no matter what the spin doctors said was, Mr. Trump’s deeds did not match his words.
As a military veteran who served in uniform for over 30 years and who has service connected disabilities, I take exception to any person claiming to be helping veterans simply for political gain. For me it is personal, as it is for many millions of veterans who feel they are being used and quite frankly we’re sick of it.
I have never felt comfortable with Mr. Trump using Veterans as a platform to make a spectacle of himself and have long believed his lack of transparency on this issue was dishonest ever since his plan was first hatched to not attend the GOP debate. Long before ABC News broke their story, I tweeted the following:
This past week, I highlighted on Facebook that Mr. Trump has still not kept his word, having only raised $5.6M according to the Trump Campaign website. You can see the breakout by charity for yourself at the following link: https://www.donaldjtrump.com/press-releases/donald-j.-trump-veteran-fundraiser.
I would also point out that it has been reported by various media outlets that checks on behalf of Mr. Trump were mailed overnight on May 24, 2016, the same day that Mr. Trump contributed $1M dollars of his own to support his cause. You can draw your own conclusions whether Mr. Trump would have followed through had ABC News not pursued their story and make up your mind as to his intentions.
I would also highlight based upon my most recent Facebook post concerning this issue, a Trump supporter immediately responded claiming that Mr. Trump has given so much more than the presumptive Democrat rival Hillary Clinton, but as usual, failed to address or acknowledge the fact that Mr. Trump’s $6M dollar pronouncement was not only dishonest because it was not true, but it was disrespectful and misleading to millions of veterans who deserve better and he knows it.
For some people, the fact that Mr. Trump is still $400K short of the figure he originally claimed is not a big deal, but for a veterans group that provides needy services, $400K goes a long way. I believe along that line, that it is a big deal to withhold $400K and to do so shows a lack of integrity and intestinal fortitude by Mr. Trump. Saying it another way, how would you feel if Mr. Trump promised to give you $400K and then reneged? After all, he’s gotten a lot of mileage out of saying he’s raised $6M dollars for veterans.
Veterans today are tired of being political pawns who after all, have been used and abused by government officials for some time now. One only has to look at the failures at the Veterans Administration to see just how poorly we have been treated.
In typical political spin fashion, at the Trump media presser this past week, Mr. Trump blamed the “sleazy” media and reasserted his claims that he was being treated “unfairly.” Now if I didn’t know better, I’d swear it was just like the current sitting president up at the podium as Mr. Trump went on the attack against the media for exposing him. But this my friends is really political speak for “I’m a victim,” and please have sympathy for me because the big bad media is picking on me. No Mr. Trump, the media is not picking on you, but rather simply holding you accountable for the words that come out of your mouth. Get used to it if you really intend on becoming POTUS.
I pray that Mr. Trump comes to his senses and puts up that remaining $400K that he pledged to veterans, but I’m not willing to bet the farm on that. Only time will tell whether he is a man committed to deeds and not just words. After all, if he short changes veterans on supposed money raised, do you really think he going to build the southern wall or rebuild the military? Good luck with that!
Colonel (Ret) John D. Vernon, USA, is the author of “Angels Watching Over Me” and is the CEO, American Warrior Press. Learn more at http://americanwarriorpress.com and follow him on twitter @JOHNDVERNON1. ©JohnVernon2016