Donald Trump tussled with reporters Tuesday amid sharp scrutiny over the delayed distribution of millions of dollars he promised to veterans’ organizations.
The real estate mogul announced in January that he had raised $6 million for veterans groups during a charity event in Iowa, which his campaign hastily organized to counter-program a Fox News presidential debate he skipped amid a feud with the network. He presented several grateful veterans’ organizations with oversize checks of $100,000 in the days that followed.
But many of the groups that were promised money by Trump and his campaign waited weeks and months without receiving the funds; that prompted questions about the reason for the delays, the real amount Trump raised, and which organizations would ultimately receive the money. Further confusion arose earlier this month after various campaign officials and Trump himself gave inconsistent estimates about the total money raised.
The presumptive GOP nominee hurled insults at reporters Tuesday, whom he accused of liberal bias and of attempting to diminish his efforts.
“You’re a sleaze because you know the facts, and you know the facts well,” Trump said in one instance, pointing at a reporter from ABC News.
Trump repeatedly claimed Tuesday that he did not want credit for raising the money, but that he was forced to detail the amounts raised and distributed because of negative media reports.
“I wasn’t looking for the credit, but I had no choice but to do this because the press was saying I didn’t raise any money for them,” Trump said.
Trump said Tuesday that he had raised a total of $5.6 million and that all of the money has been paid out at this point except for a single check to one group waiting for IRS authorization.
After several questions from reporters on the matter, Trump began reading from the list of organizations that received donations and the corresponding amount distributed. Trump did not disclose when all of the money was distributed but said that the vetting process for each organization took a substantial amount of time.
He intermittently paused to attack the press for raising questions about when the money was distributed.
“I have to tell you, the press is so dishonest and so unfair,” Trump said.