One of Trump’s most enduring and arguably most endearing campaign lines has been his promise to treat American vets better. When Trump dropped out of a Fox News debate in January he held a separate event at which he raised money for veterans. But three months later, Trump’s campaign adviser for veterans, Al Baldasaro, doesn’t seem too concerned about it. He told the Daily Beast, “I’m not concerned about it, because I know [Trump is] an honorable, honest guy… you guys just want to say, ‘gotcha.’”
To be fair, Baldasaro is not a Trump staffer. The real problem is that anyone who has attempted to track down the $6 million raised has been unable to find more than about half that amount that was actually delivered to veterans’ groups. From the Daily Beast:
Since the fundraiser, numerous media organizations have investigated whether the charities have received the $6 million. The investigations span the ideological spectrum: the progressive MSNBC and the conservative Weekly Standard have been unable to find all the funds; as have The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, and The Daily Beast.
The money simply hasn’t been found.
That CNN total of $2.9 million was based on a list of 29 veterans organizations shown to the network by a Trump spokesperson, so that seems to be the best case scenario. However, when CNN checked with those organizations one of them said they had not seen any money yet and the majority refused to comment:
When contacted by CNN, only nine groups confirmed they had received payments totaling $800,000, one group said no payment had yet been made, and the rest either refused to disclose contributions or did not respond to CNN’s requests for comment.
A Trump spokesperson told CNN contributions would continue as money came in from donors, but why wait for money to come in?
Trump made a big point of raising this money for veterans. That was an honorable thing to do. He could do vets another solid (and maybe gain a little of his declining favorability back) by stepping up and advancing the money from his own bank account if necessary. Doing so would be a win for his campaign and a win for veterans.