One hundred and sixteen days ago, Donald Trump bailed out of a GOP debate and held an alternative event, a “fundraiser” for veterans. At the time, we wondered if it was a scam because our friends at The Federalist noted that contributions to that fundraiser went to Trump’s personal charity. This disbursement of the funds was slow. The disbursements did not add up to anywhere near the $6 million that Trump claimed to have raised. Over the weekend, Leon reported on the fact that even the Trump campaign is admitting it didn’t raise $6 million.
The Washington Post, reacting much like a shark to the scent of blood in the water, has taken another run at trying to find out what happened to the money Trump alleges to have raised.
How much money did Trump actually bring in?
We don’t know. [SEE UPDATE]
Trump on the night of the fundraiser said he’d raised $6 million. But last week, campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told The Post that the real figure was about $4.5 million. On Monday night, Trump tweetedthat the figure was “between 5 & 6 million.” Then, on Tuesday, Trump said on Instagram that it was “almost $6 million.” But Trump’s general counsel, Michael Cohen, told CNN that “Right now it is 4 or 5 million.” The Post has asked repeatedly — including again on Tuesday — for an exact figure.
Did Trump give any money out of his own pocket?
Trump says he gave $1 million of his own money to veterans’ groups. But he has not named any of the groups he donated it to or provided any evidence that his donations were made. On Tuesday morning, Lewandowski told CBS News that he would inquire about making the donations public: “I mean, I’ll ask him to do that.”
How much money has actually been given away to veterans’ groups, so far?
At least $3.1 million, by The Post’s most recent accounting.
The Post’s accounting has relied on reports from the veterans’ groups themselves, and from information provided in early March by the Trump campaign. When The Post showed this accounting to Lewandowski last week, he said, “You’ve got a pretty good handle on a lot of the money that’s been pretty distributed.”
Some of this $3.1 million was given directly to veterans’ charities by other donors who were inspired by Trump. In some cases, big donors sent their money to the Donald J. Trump Foundation, which passed the money on. In all, 28 charities received money.
The bulk of the giving seems to have happened in February and early March. The most recent check that The Post could find was dated March 25.
The Post has asked the Trump campaign repeatedly for the amount of money still remaining to be given away. That number has not been provided.
Are these charities chosen by Trump legitimate?
By all appearances, yes.
What will happen to the rest of the money?
It will be given away by Monday — Memorial Day — Lewandowski told CBS.
Earlier this month, Trump did an interview with Washington Post reporters, before he walked out when he was asked about his various alter egos, this exchange took place
Excerpt from an interview earlier this month, where other WaPo reporters pressed Trump about the vets $ pic.twitter.com/ihl1z964ol
— David Fahrenthold (@Fahrenthold) May 24, 2016
Is there anything in this exchange that gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling? Like the money that was raised has been managed properly? No. Me neither. What is noticeable is that Trump does not mention donating any money to this particular fundraiser but rather glosses it over with a “I’ve given millions” claim… again unsubstantiated.
And naturally, the various flying monkeys of the Branch Trumpidian order set out to attack the reporter who simply aggregated the sum total of our knowledge about this charitable endeavor:
@Fahrenthold @realDonaldTrump this is very pathetic. I know founders of 2 vets orgs who had no problem getting the money. Did you serve? — Don Smith (@donsmithshow) May 24, 2016
See the non-sequitur? Wonder if this clown is aware that Donald Trump got five draft deferments.
@Hear1by1 @Fahrenthold @realDonaldTrump I am a vet as well. I know 2 orgs that he helped. Sorry it doesn’t fit your agenda.
— Don Smith (@donsmithshow) May 24, 2016
And the story explicitly states that 28 organizations received money, that is more than two. There is no agenda in this story beyond a reporter reporting what he was told by Trump and his various minions and trying to make sense of it.
This is a simple story that would go away if Donald Trump simply had it within his ability to tell the truth about anything. He said he raised $6 million, of which $1 million, was a personal contribution. What is so hard about showing this? The excuse Trump uses about him giving his charity privately is bogus. Until complaints were raised the only way veterans groups received money was by appearing on stage with him at campaign rallies. He is the guy who is bragging about raising $6 million. If he were truly the reticent man he claims to be, he wouldn’t have made a claim as to the dollar value raised. The fact is, that he raised over $4 million. That is a lot of money. And a lot of good groups have benefited from this generosity.
But why won’t Trump, after boasting about giving $1 million of his own money to this charity, simply provide some kind of documentation to substantiate the claim.
The reasons are limited to two. Either he is a very modest man who gave much more than $1 million and he will be embarrassed by the praise he will get when the word gets out. Or. Or he’s a lying cheapskate who hasn’t donated a penny but wants to credit for doing so.