Today Donald Trump held a press conference to clear up what happened to the “over $6 million” he claimed to have raised when he skipped the GOP debate in Wisonsin. Not unexpectedly, the presser became contentious as Trump blamed the media for actually following up on his claim.
If you think your brain can handle it, here is the full video.
The entire presser can be summed up in this tweet:
The exchange that led Trump to call me a "sleaze." ? pic.twitter.com/dDwsjR4IlF
— Tom Llamas (@TomLlamasABC) May 31, 2016
Donald Trump railed against the media on Tuesday morning as he released details of the money he’s raised and distributed to veterans organizations, even calling out one journalist as a “sleaze” during a combative news conference.
Trump has faced pressure to release information on where the money went after he held a fundraiser for veterans in January in lieu of a Fox News debate.
Speaking with veterans behind him at Trump Tower on Tuesday morning, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee said his campaign has sent off $5.6 million to veterans organizations, which he named one by one after railing against the media for coverage over the disbursements.
“I raised close to $6 million,” Trump said. “It’ll probably be over that amount when it’s all said and done, but as of this moment it’s $5.6 million.”
He also blasted the Fourth Estate, telling reporters that the media should be ashamed.
“Instead of being like, ‘Thank you very much, Mr. Trump,’ or ‘Trump did a good job,’ everyone said: ‘Who got it? Who got it? Who got it?’” Trump said. “And you make me look very bad. I have never received such bad publicity for doing a good job.”
Minutes later, he called out Tom Llamas, a journalist with ABC News.
“I could have asked all these groups to come here and I didn’t want to do that. I’m not looking for credit,” Trump said. “But what I don’t want is when I raise millions of dollars, have people say, like this sleazy guy right over here from ABC. He’s a sleaze in my book. You’re a sleaze because you know the facts and you know the facts well.”
He’s not looking for credit? Really? Then why does he mention it constantly?
If you’ve followed the story you know none of this is even close to the truth.
Donald Trump knew he was going to have his ass handed to him in the GOP debate in Wisconsin. He ran. You’ll notice a pattern here. He held a competing event that was dutifully covered by the media, an event in which Trump did not have to answer questions. He claimed that he raised “over $6 million.” In fact, he made that same claim as late as yesterday at his grotesque appearance with the “Rolling Thunder” group at the National Mall.
As the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza points out, the only reason that veterans got what Donald Trump promised them was because the media followed up on his promises:
1. Trump said, on the night of the event, that he had raised $6 million for veterans groups. This from a CNN report of the speech:
He did it Thursday night, dazzling a crowd of hundreds of enthusiastic supporters by announcing that he had raised more than $6 million for veterans in one day — $1 million of it from his own checkbook. “We love our vets,” he said.
2. Trump made the $1 million personal donation to veterans groups a week ago and only after WaPo’s David Fahrenthold did a deep dive into where the promised money went. That was four months after the speech/fundraiser where Trump trumpeted that he had donated the money.
What you saw this morning at Trump Tower was the press at its best, not at its worst, as Trump said over and over again.
As much as I hate to say it, I think Donald Trump has had the better part of this exchange. He has successfully changed the story narrative from the real one (cheapskate billionaire promises money to vets and reneges on pledge) to a fake one (evil press is again outfoxed by brilliant and generous Trump). Note that the coverage by the media doesn’t focus on Trump’s pattern of lies and duplicity in regards to this philanthropic effort but on the Trump vs media angle, an angle the media will lose just about every day as most of the GOP and large segments of the Democrats are inclined to believe reporters are corporate shills. It is almost like they are helping him win.