Remember when the Trump campaign skipped out of the GOP debate in January to host a fundraiser for veterans, after which Trump and his campaign touted its success by saying they raised $6 million for veteran groups?
Yeah. Turns out, that didn’t happen.
“Honor their valor”
According to the original story, the Trump campaign held a rally in Des Moines, Iowa, during which they raised $5 million for veterans groups, with Trump personally dumping another $1 million atop that, for a total of $6 million dollars.
They touted that number, because it was the reason Trump skipped out on the GOP debate.
But that apparently wasn’t true. Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told CNN on Friday that the amount of money was actually less than $6 million, and if the Washington Post article is correct, it’s considerably less — about $4.5 million.
Lewandowski told CNN that he wasn’t sure of “the exact number” but would confirm it in upcoming days. The discrepancy was a result of Trump believing he’d raised $6 million but more money had been pledged than donated.
Lewandowski also said that the figure in the Post — $4.5 million — wasn’t correct.
So what’s the exact number? Just like the question of where the money went, the total income of the fundraiser is a mystery. CNN notes the fundraiser “was light in details from the very beginning,” with the website set up to collect the funds not disclosing which charities would benefit.
Instead, it was filled with mindless slogans like “honor their valor” and “donate now to help our veterans.”
The question of where the money went has followed Trump on the campaign trail ever since, because if this sounds fishy to you, well, that’s because it is.
CNN went looking for where the contributions went in March, prompting Trump’s campaign to offer a list of 27 veterans organizations that’d received a total of $2.9 million to date, without a word on when the rest of the funds would be handed out.
The names on the list? Most of them came from Trump’s foundations or the foundations of two of his friends, businessman Carl Icahn and pharmaceutical billionaire Stewart J. Rahr.
Other charities on the list, including the Fisher House Foundation, Green Beret Foundation and Disabled American Veterans, while others, such as Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said they didn’t want any of the contributions.
So what’s this mean? The cynical part of me says Trump used it as scam to make himself money. I have no idea if that’s true or not, but really, would it surprise you if it was?
Feature image via Scott Olson/Getty Images