Remember back in January when presidential candidate Donald Trump skipped the Republican debate and held a televised fundraiser for veterans? Trump ended the broadcast with the news that “We just cracked $6 million, right? Six million.”
According to a Washington Post story published on Saturday, Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski says the actual number is more like $4.5 million, which is 75% of the announced total. He blamed Trump’s “wealthy acquaintances” who backed out on pledges and gave nothing after the event.
The Post surveyed veterans groups and has confirmed that at least $3.1 million in donations has made its way to those organizations. James Kallstrom, a retired FBI official who is the chairman of the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, was grateful for a $100,000 donation that will help fund $30,000 educational grants for the children of Marines killed on active duty: “I believe there was a helicopter crash that had, oh God, I forget how many there were. . . . They’re all young, and they all have young children.”
The story claims that Trump has refused to give the newspaper details about how the money has been distributed. “Why should I give you records?” Trump said in an interview with The Post. “I don’t have to give you records.”
Paul Rieckhoff, founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, disagrees: “That’s just shady. Right? No matter how you cut it, that’s just shady. If he was going to make it right, a couple of weeks before Memorial Day would be a good time to do it. It behooves him, not just politically but ethically, to come forward and account for this money.”
Should veterans and voters hold the billionaire Donald Trump accountable for the shortfall? Should he write a personal check to make up the difference? Should the campaign identify the donors who backed out on $1.5 million in pledges?
Or should we be grateful for the cash he raised, even if the final amount is only 75% of an announced figure that generated lots of goodwill for the candidate’s campaign?
What do you think? Does this incident influence your opinion of Trump’s campaign? Sound off!