Remember when Donald Trump skipped a debate and held a charity drive for military groups? So does everyone else, and now they are asking who actually got paid. According to Trump’s people, his fundraiser brought in $6 million for various veterans’ charities.
Now, according to the Wall Street Journal, less than half of those funds have been dispersed. Initial reporting by Fox Business back in February stated that only a small fraction of the cash had been distributed. Now, that number is up, but not nearly where it should be after several months. At least, that’s the line many news companies and Trump critics purport.
What are the groups in question that were supposed to receive funds saying? Well, they are saying they have received some funds – 19 of 22 have admitted receiving funds while 16 of them received donations as early as February. Still, those donations were in the thousands, not millions – between 5 and 100 thousand respectively.
One recipient said he’s not even sure where the money actually came from. Keith David of Task Force Dagger Foundation said the check came from Stewart Rahr’s foundation, not Trump. Although a Trump associate called and confirmed the cash came from the Iowa event.
Trump’s camp is steadfastly standing behind their record. Hope Hicks, Trump’s PR spokesperson, said Trump has given to 22 groups, as well as many others. Hicks told Fox the money was being distributed “as it comes in.”
Hicks didn’t miss the chance to poke at the media for coming after Trump when, she says, they could be trying to support and promote the work the various veterans groups are doing.
Trump supports and many on the fence say Hicks has a point. Why is the media being coy about when the donations are going out when they clearly are being distributed … and why aren’t they paying more attention to the good work these charities do?
Trump opponents say this is a matter of accountability. They have a point too. Trump made a big issue of skipping the debate to win favor with his military-supporting base. He could have done this charity work at any time. Yes, it’s great he’s supporting the military, but the timing and the messaging made it clear that the event was as much about Trump’s brand as it was about supporting the military. The media responded in kind. Of course, they want to know where the money is being spent.
In a situation like this, the initiator sets the rules by defining what the event in question is about. Now the media is asking questions…and they are getting answers.
Fair all around…so far.