You may have already heard that Donald Trump is demanding $5 million from CNN if they want him to be at the next republican debate. He said at a campaign rally in Georgia:
How about I tell CNN, who doesn’t treat me properly … I’m not gonna do the next debate, OK? I won’t do the debate unless they pay me $5 million, all of which goes to wounded warriors or goes to vets.
Surprise! Donald Trump has a new entry in the dog and pony show he calls a presidential campaign. This time its name is “extortion.” At least that’s what Alan Schroeder, a journalism professor at Northeastern University, told the Washington Post. He said, “One of the things about debates that’s a positive is they’ve always been separate from the whole financial aspect of campaigning. This is extortion. I hope CNN calls his bluff.”
Aww, why does this Schroeder guy have to be such a party pooper? Donald Trump was actually doing something nice? Right? Five million dollars for veterans is a lot of money. Way to go, Donald!
Yeah, I’m not buying it, either. Trump knows that his teabagger base will lap up any praise or support he gives to the veterans, no matter how photo opportunistic it is — they simply won’t see the difference.
But, there may be something even more sinister here than farcical political posturing. Especially when a quick google search reveals that The Donald was center stage on the USS Iowa for a fundraising event in September with a “group” called Veterans for a Strong America which is linked to a man named Joel Arends.
According to Rachel Maddow, the Trump campaign billed the September appearance as Trump’s “major foreign policy address.”
There was no foreign policy in it at all and it frankly wasn’t even that much of a speech. What it was, was a fundraiser. A fundraiser for a group called Veterans for a Strong America.
In the video, there is a clip of Trump saying at the fundraising event:
An endorsement from your group, with so many veterans, hundreds of thousands of veterans, I really appreciate that, Joel. I didn’t expect it.
(There it is again, by the way – thousands and thousands of nonexistent people.)
CNN investigated the “group” after the event and discovered “they” had lost their tax-exempt status. Of course, Trump’s campaign says they had no idea but that it didn’t “legally” matter, anyway. Anderson Cooper also reported a few other interesting details:
Prior to the event, Veterans For a Strong America issued a press release in which it claimed more than 500,000 supporters, but outside of Arends, CNN has found it difficult to find anyone with a direct link to the group.
So, when Donald Trump says he wants $5 million in compensation for showing up to a presidential debate and says that he will turn around and give that $5 million to “wounded warriors” OR a very general “vets” – one can’t help but ask: Will, as he calls Veterans for a Strong America, “Joel and the group” be included in the “vets” that get that money?
You can watch the video of Rachel Maddow’s take down, here:
Featured image via video screen capture