Donald Trump famously skipped a January GOP debate to do some “good works,” namely, his campaign said that he was off raising money for veterans. After the fundraiser, the Donald Trump campaign touted his awesomeness and devotion to U.S. vets by saying that he’d raised $6 million for veterans’ groups. According to the Trump campaign, The Donald and his cohorts scraped together $5 million with their fundraising event, and the sainted Donald himself contributed the final $1 million out of his own pocket.
The only problem with this story? It’s not entirely true. According to a CNN report, Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, the Donald Trump campaign raised less than the $6 million it originally claimed, possibly much less.
Lewandowski told the media outlet that he didn’t “know the exact number” of dollars that had actually been raised by the Donald Trump campaign off the top of his head. He did promise to find out how much the campaign had raised for vets in the coming days and get that figure to the media. According to the Trump campaign manager, Donald Trump didn’t deliberately mislead the public and his potential voters by telling them that his campaign had raised $6 million for vets. Rather, according to Lewandowski, Donald Trump honestly believed that $6 had been raised.
The reason for the discrepancy, according to the Trump campaign, is that more money was pledged to the cause than was actually donated.
On May 20, The Washington Post reported that the actual dollar amount raised for veterans by the Donald Trump campaign was closer to $4.5 million. However, Trump’s campaign manager said that the $4.5 million figure is also incorrect.
Unfortunately for Donald Trump, this discrepancy is a pretty big deal. The Donald made concern for vets part of the foundation of his unlikely bid for the White House. His January 28 fundraiser raised more than money, it raised eyebrows as it took place in direct opposition to the GOP debate Trump refused to participate in. Now, after becoming the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, the Donald Trump campaign is telling the world that they didn’t tell the whole truth when announcing that Donald Trump had raised $6 million dollars for the vet’s charities he so passionately touted to pad his voter base.
“Our vets are being mistreated… and it’s not going to happen anymore.”
Not everyone’s happy with the Trump troop over this incident, be it a deliberate lie or an innocent blunder.
I know Donald Trump lied to us about raising $6 million for vets but darn it, I like the way he just says what he thinks.— John Fugelsang (@JohnFugelsang) May 22, 2016
While the Donald Trump campaign has recently fessed up that they didn’t raise the money they claimed to have raised, this is far from the first time the Trump campaign has been haunted by the memories of the late-January veterans fundraiser.
One of the biggest issues people have had with Donald Trump’s fundraising for vets popped up almost from the beginning, when the donation widgets on the donation website didn’t disclose to donors what charities their money would be going to. Rather, donors simply saw taglines such as “Donate now to help our veterans,” and “Honor their valor.”
The Donald Trump has been dogged with questions about how much money it had raised and how it was going to be spent ever since.
Back in March, CNN investigated the issue in-depth, airing a report questioning how much had been raised and how it had been allocated by the Donald Trump campaign. At that time, the campaign responded to media queries with a list of 27 organizations that had benefited from the fundraising. In total, those charities had received a total of $2.9 million; a far cry from the $6 million the Donald Trump campaign had claimed to have raised.
In March, the Donald Trump campaign declined to confirm the total dollar amount of donations it had received for veterans, nor would the campaign say as to when the rest of the money would be dispersed.
According to the list provided by the Donald Trump campaign, the primary donors were the Trump Foundation and two close associates of Donald Trump, Steward J. Rahr and Carl Icahn.
As of last Friday, when the Donald Trump campaign admitted it hadn’t raised as much money as it claimed, the campaign declined to identify those who had pledged funds but didn’t follow through by putting their money where their respective mouths were.
While large discrepancies in the amount of money raised sound like a pretty big deal, they aren’t the only veteran fundraising scandal to plague the Donald Trump campaign. Several charities flat-out refused Donald Trump’s money, including Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
What do you think? Is this a case of Donald Trump using puffery to overstate his fundraising ability, or is the Donald Trump campaign up to something shady and perhaps even illegal?
[Photo By Mel Evans/AP Photo]