NEW YORK — Donald Trump says he’s fed up with reporters questioning how much money he’s donated to veterans groups.
In a short video posted Tuesday on Instagram, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee said: “I raised almost $6 million, including putting up $1 million of my own money. I had no obligation to do anything or to do so. And I get nothing but bad press from the dishonest media. It is absolutely disgraceful. Why don’t they look at the Clinton Foundation?”
Trump is finally making good on his own pledge to donate $1 million to a veterans’ charity, and is funneling his donation to the Marine Corps Law-Enforcement Foundation, which provides educational assistance to the children of fallen Marines and federal law enforcement officers.
One of Trump’s assistants called the foundation Tuesday morning to coordinate the donation, Sue Boulhosa, executive director of the foundation, told CNN later Tuesday. The assistant told Boulhosa the $1 million check would arrive by Wednesday morning via FedEx.
But Trump still hasn’t released a full tally of how much money was made at the veterans fundraiser he held in lieu of taking part in a debate in Iowa back in January. His campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, said Tuesday morning that the amount was between $5.5 and $6 million. Lewandowski, in a CBS interview, said there’ll be a full distribution by Memorial Day.
It’s true that Trump has donated generously to veterans groups over the years but it’s also true that at times there are discrepancies between the amount of money Trump touts, and the amount actually donated.
You can find one example right on Trump’s own website, where Trump boasts of saving an annual veterans parade in 1995 with his participation, and a cash donation, “Mr. Trump agreed to lead as grand marshal,” and “made a $1 million matching donation to finance the Nation’s Day Parade.”
Trump did save the event, according to the parade’s organizer, but he didn’t give $1 million to it.
Vincent McGowan, the president emeritus of the United War Veterans of New York and the organizer of the Nation’s Day Parade in 1995 told CNN the actual donation amount was somewhere between $325,000 and $375,000 — but it wasn’t $1 million.
McGowan also said Trump never was grand marshal of the Nation’s Day Parade, because only veterans were honored with that position, and Trump was not a veteran. Though McGowan said “it’s true” that Trump does work to support veterans.
McGowan believes whoever wrote the website account may have mixed up events. A decade earlier in 1985, he says, Trump donated $1 million towards the construction of New York City’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial Plaza.
“They didn’t get the story straight, ” McGowan said.
Another example involves sales of Trump vodka.
After signing a deal to launch his brand of vodka, Trump went on CNN’s “Larry King Live” in 2006 and described the venture, saying, “I’m giving the money to charity.”
In 2008, while the business was reportedly struggling, the vodka company sent multiple press releases stating it would donate sales proceeds to the Walter Reed Society, a charity supporting programs at Walter Reed Hospital.
The charity’s administrator tells CNN the donations amounted to about “a few hundred dollars.”
“We were expecting more because the name Trump was attached to it, but it wasn’t much,” the administrator said.
After this story was published, the creator of Trump Vodka, J. Patrick Kenny, told CNN he remembered things differently, although he did not remember the exact amount donated.
“It was a good will gesture on our part,” Kenny told CNN, noting that he was a former patient at Walter Reed.