The Timeline Of Trump And Friends’ Donations To Veterans Makes No Sense

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Four months ago, presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump skipped out on a presidential debate hosted by Fox News to hold a fundraiser to benefit veterans organizations. Since then, the campaign has not made it clear exactly how much the event raised, or precisely which groups have benefitted.

Trump himself pledged at the event to give $1 million. He took credit for doing so and continued to allow the public to believe he had donated, even though it’s now clear he never did. It’s possible he actually never intended to, as it was only when The Washington Post finally cornered him this week about that falsehood that he belatedly coughed up the money.

Here’s a timeline of the at times conflicting information disseminated by Trump and his campaign, and where media outlets have been able to track the donations so far:

January 27:

Trump announced that he’d host a fundraiser for veterans groups in Iowa in lieu of attending the Fox News presidential debate.

January 28:

Trump’s spokeswoman, Katrina Pierson, couldn’t name a single veterans group that would benefit ahead of the fundraiser in an interview on national television. She said a list of organizations was posted on the campaign website, but there was no such list available.

Trump’s son tweeted later in the day that Trump would announce which organizations would receive money during the event:

Trump said a list of the organizations that would receive money was available in-person at the fundraiser in Iowa. There were reportedly 22 organizations on the list.

Trump said at the end of the event that they “just cracked $6 million,” and that he donated $1 million of his own funds.

February 8:

The Trump campaign offered money to at least one veterans group, which turned it down after the money was promised in exchange for campaigning alongside the businessman.

February 26:

Fox Business Network reported that seven of the 22 organizations received checks totaling $650,000. Three other groups told the network that they hadn’t received any money.

March 3:

The Trump campaign told The Washington Post that about $3 million had been donated to veterans’ charities.

April 7:

The Wall Street Journal called the 22 organizations the Trump campaign said would receive money, 19 of which told the publication the amount that they received—adding up to a total of $2.4 million. Trump’s spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, refused to tell the Journal which organizations received money and how much they received.

April 21:

Hicks shared with CNN a list of 27 organizations that had received $2.9 million to date.

May 3:

Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, said on CNN that the campaign gave to more organizations than the 22 veterans groups it initially said would receive the funds.

May 20:

Lewandowski told The Washington Post that the campaign raised about $4.5 million. Lewandowski later told CNN that the number was wrong, but he didn’t “know the exact number” off the top of his head and promised to follow up.

Lewandowski also said that “Mr. Trump’s money is fully spent,” apparently in reference to his $1 million pledge.

May 23:

Trump called up the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, which benefits families of fallen Marines and federal law enforcement officers, and told the organization’s chairman it would be receiving $1 million, according to The Washington Post.

Trump refuted Lewandowski’s previous claim that he had spent all his money already, telling the Post that “I don’t know that Corey would even know when I gave it out.”

May 24:

Trump told The Washington Post that he never said the Iowa fundraiser raised $6 million. When reminded of his comment during the event that he had raised that amount, Trump replied that he didn’t have tape of it.

Yet Trump reiterated that the fundraiser raised $6 million for vets that same day in an Instagram video, in which he railed against the “dishonest” media for the way it has reported on the donations.

May 25:

The Washington Post confirmed that Trump was donating $1 million of his own money to a veterans organization:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sara Jerde is a newswriter based in New York. Her bylines have appeared in The Star-Ledger, The Chronicle of Higher Education and The Columbus Dispatch. She graduated from Ohio University. Send emails to sara@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow her @SaraJerde.
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