Trump and the veterans (Part 2)

June 1, 2016

Donald Trump is still mad about the reaction to his fundraising efforts for U.S. vets.

The Republican presidential candidate scolded journalists at a Tuesday press conference for checking up on his claim that he’d donated $6 million to US military veterans’ groups after allegedly raising the sum on a single night in January, when he held a much-publicized rally instead of participating in a presidential debate.

Trump acknowledged he’d only raised $5.6 million and that some groups hadn’t gotten their money until very recently, because Trump’s team had taken time to vet them.

For journalists attending the press conference, Trump’s claim that he’d shied away from taking credit for raising the money, and that he hadn’t wanted the attention, was a head-scratcher.

“I wanted to keep it private because I don’t think it’s anybody’s business if I want to send money to the vets,” he said, before reading a list of groups to which he’d sent money.

“You make me look very bad,” he added.

Trump expressed open anger at the media, calling journalists “losers” and scolding those of us gathered for questioning his fundraising claims and his commitment to “the vets.” Then he stepped aside and let a longtime surrogate, New Hampshire State Representative Al Baldassaro, himself a military veteran, take the stage.

“Stop using  veterans as political pawns!” Baldassaro boomed. He was talking to us, the members of the press.

It was a moment of high tension, but it ended soon afterward, when Trump reassumed his position at the podium and a reporter in the back asked him whether the Cincinnati Zoo should have killed the gorilla.

Outside of Trump Tower, the candidate didn’t have it all his own way. A handful of demonstrators gathered to protest agains his comments on the vets, with two holding signs saying #VetsVsHate and “veterans are not props for hate.”

Further afield, a Clinton spokesman also weighed in:

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