NEW YORK – Under pressure to account for money he claimed to raise for veterans, an angry and irritated Donald Trump outlined a list of charities Tuesday he says have now received millions of dollars from a fundraiser he held earlier this year.
Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, told reporters at a testy news conference in New York that the fundraiser, held in boycott of a Fox News presidential debate, raised $5.6 million. Trump had previously refused to disclose which charities had received the funds and his campaign has gone back and forth about how much was raised.
“The money’s all been sent,” Trump said at a press conference at Trump Tower Tuesday morning.
Trump repeatedly criticized the press for making the money an issue, saying reporters “should be ashamed of themselves” for asking where the money had gone.
Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski had originally told The Washington Post that the event had raised about $4.5 million – less than the $6 million originally announced by Trump – because some who’d pledged contributions had backed out. Lewandowski also said all the money had been given out.
Trump contradicted those comments when he later told the paper that the total raised was higher and that his team had been busy vetting the groups.
Trump had claimed during the fundraiser that he’d raised $6 million through a combination of pledges from wealthy friends, the public and $1 million from himself after a splashy telethon-style fundraiser he held in Iowa in January in place of the Fox debate.
It was very unfair that the press treated us so badly.
But his campaign refused for months to disclose which charities had received the money, leading some news organizations and critics to speculate that the money raised was less than he had claimed.
“It was very unfair that the press treated us so badly,” Trump complained.
Local New York Veteran affiliated with the group “the #VetsVsHate” are planning a protest outside Trump Tower to complain that Trump “has used veterans as political props.”
“Trump has been evasive and dishonest about this money, and only after being confronted for attempting to defraud vets was he shamed into accounting for the missing funds,” the group said in a release.