Marine Corps veteran and New Hampshire state Rep. Al Baldasaro defended Donald Trump’s donations to veterans groups and called out the “liberal media” for its reporting on the issue during a press conference on Tuesday at Trump Tower.
Baldasaro, who indicated he has served on the New Hampshire House’s veterans affairs committee for 10 years, said the presumptive GOP presidential nominee acted appropriately by taking time to distribute funds to various veterans groups. “There are many scam artists out there. He did the right thing by vetting these groups,” Baldasaro stated. (See video below.)
Trump stated at the press conference that he was able to raise $5.6 million for veterans as the result of an event he hosted in January in lieu of participating in a Fox News presidential debate.
“Donald Trump is doing this for the heart,” said Baldasaro. “You’re all focused on the way he is raising money. … I think the liberal media, and I been dealing with you a long time, need to get your head out of your butt and focus on the real issues,” which drew applause from many in the room.
Trump mentioned some of the major donors including friend Carl Icahn who contributed to his veterans event. “I raised almost $6 million,” he said. “All of the money has been paid out. … 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.”
When questioned why it took since January to distribute all of the money, Trump said, “You have to go through a process. When you send checks for hundreds of thousands of dollars to people and to companies and to groups that you’ve never heard of, charitable organizations, you have to vet it. You send people out. You do a lot of work. Now most of the money went out quite a while ago — some of it went out more recently.”
The businessman made clear all the groups in a list he distributed to the press had received their donations now but one, which was still being vetted. He said all of them received certified checks that can be verified, if any in the press still doubted him. Trump indicated most of the money had been paid out “a long time ago.”
Here are the veterans’ groups that have received money from the Trump campaign, totaling $5.6 million. pic.twitter.com/7AWcZfAkP0
— Brad Mielke (@TheBradMielke) May 31, 2016
The Washington Post ran a story last week stating it had not been able to locate any veterans groups to which Trump had given, save a $1 million donation the candidate made that week to the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation.
Trump was clearly perturbed by the media coverage he had received on the issue, and the suggestion he had not followed through with his pledge to raise money for veterans groups. He singled out ABC reporter Thomas Llamas, saying, “You’re a sleaze because you know the facts and you know the facts well.”
The presumptive GOP nominee took time at the press conference to list several groups and the amounts they had received.
“Instead of being like Trump did a good job, everyone is saying, ‘Who got it? Who got it?’ and you make me look very bad,” Trump said. “I have never received such bad publicity for doing such a good job.”