Donald Trump Lies About Donations To Vets' Charities, Will Debate Bernie Sanders 'For Charity'
In yet another bit of news that would probably sink a normal candidate forever, it turns out that Donald Trump told a big old fib four months ago when he skipped out on a Fox News Republican debate in January and held a big fundraiser "for the vets." Trump boasted his petulant I-Hate-Fox counterprogramming raised $6 million for a variety of veterans' groups, and that he, Donald J. Trump, had personally donated ONE MILLLLION DOLLARS because he loves America and our vets so very much. Trump even won the debate he refused to attend, simply by being somewhere else.
And then we all found out late last week Trump was exaggerating the amount of money the event actually took in, and outright lying about having donated a million dollars all on his very own. In a report published Friday, Trump's hired muscle Corey Lewandowski told the Washington Post that the actual amount raised was more like $4.5 million, because a lot of people made pledges they didn't follow through on. Asked about Trump's own million-dollar contribution, Lewandowski insisted yes, the bossman had given every penny:
“The money is fully spent. Mr. Trump’s money is fully spent,” Lewandowski said.
To whom did Trump give, and in what amounts?
“He’s not going to share that information,” Lewandowski said.
Turns out there's a really good reason for that: Trump hadn't given a penny to any vets groups at the time. Once the story broke and Trump started getting criticism, Trump finally followed through, sort of:
Monday evening, Trump called the home of James K. Kallstrom, a former FBI official who is chairman of the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation. The charity aids families of fallen Marines and federal law enforcement officers.
Trump told Kallstrom that he would give the entire $1 million to the group, according to Kallstrom’s wife. Sue Kallstrom said she was not sure whether the money had been transferred yet.
Remember, if you want to get all nitpicky about mere facts (and you do!), Trump humblebragged, on teevee, at the January 28 fundraiser, "Donald Trump gave $1 million." There's video and everything.
So, just for the sake of asking, why the delay of four months, and why did the promise to support a whole bunch of vets' groups turn into a lump-sum donation to one charity that STILL may not have been transferred?
“You have a lot of vetting to do,” Trump explained. That makes sense. Trump wouldn't want to give money to some scam "vets organization" like he already did in September 2015. Except there's no reason Trump would have needed to "vet" the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation:
Trump already knew the recipient well. The Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation had already received more than $230,000 in donations from the Donald J. Trump Foundation — a charity controlled by Trump but largely funded by others. Last year, the group gave Trump its “Commandant’s Leadership Award” at a gala in New York.
Hmm. Maybe he was simply being extra-extra careful checking out the vets group he had an existing relationship with. Had to make sure it wasn't hiding any illegal immigrants or Muslims, maybe. When WaPo reporter David Farenthold asked Trump directly whether he'd only made the donation this week because reporters were making a fuss about it, Trump did that Acting Presidential thing he's so good at, telling Farenthold, "You know, you’re a nasty guy. You’re really a nasty guy. I gave out millions of dollars that I had no obligation to do." Score!
Trump even denied he'd claimed the January event had raised $6 million dollars, because Donald Trump is never inaccurate, although he also has one of world history's greatest memories:
“I didn’t say six,” he said.
But, in video of the event, Trump tells the crowd, “We just cracked $6 million! Right? $6 million.”
Trump was told that he did, indeed, say “$6 million.”
“Well, I don’t, I don’t have the notes. I don’t have the tape of it,” he said. “Play [the tape] for me. Because I’d like to hear it.” Before the video could be cued up, Trump had moved on.
[wonkbar][/wonkbar]All of which makes us very excited about the terrific idea Trump announced Wednesday night on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live": Since Hillary Clinton has declined Fox News's invitation to debate Bernie Sanders one more time before the California primary, how about a debate between Sanders and Trump? First Trump joked, "How much is he going to pay me?" Then he decided, since he's so good at charity, to tie any debate with Sanders to fundraising, because Donald Trump is the best at charity:
"If I debated him, we should have such high ratings, and I think I should give -- take that money and give it to some worthy charity, OK?" he said.
"That could happen, I've been saying that should happen anyway," he added. "If he paid a nice sum for charity, I would love to do that."
Sanders quickly tweeted his willingness to debate Trump, saying "Game on. I look forward to debating Donald Trump in California before the June 7 primary."
And whose idea was the Trump-Sanders debate (if it happens)? Turns out it originated with the Sanders campaign, which the Kimmel show's producers invited to submit a question for Trump. A Sanders spokesman said it started as a joke, but it looks like they're serious. As of yet, Trump hasn't specified what "charity" would benefit from the debate; Wonkette's insider sources, however, say the Human Fund is very excited about the anticipated windfall.
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