Is Trump actually raising money for veterans tonight? Does anyone care?

Donald Trump is flipping a table and walking away from tonight’s GOP debate, hosted by Fox News, over a petty sleight from the network.

Trump had objected to Megyn Kelly serving as a moderator for the debate; Fox responded with a tongue-in-cheek press release (widely believed to have been written by Roger Ailes) that mocked Trump for being a coward. As it read:

We learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president — a nefarious source tells us that Trump has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings.

This, according to Trump, was reason enough to skip the debate entirely:

So, while the rest of the GOP field holds their debate in Des Moines, Trump will hold a separate event at Drake University. Both Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina have challenged Trump to join him there for a one-on-one debate. Trump has ignored them, maintaining that his event is a fundraiser for an unspecified group of veterans.

When have we heard that before?

From September:

Donald Trump and Joel Ardesen, screenshot via

Donald Trump and Joel Ardesen, the only member of Veterans for a Strong America, screenshot via YouTube

Last night, Donald Trump gave a foreign policy address aboard the USS Iowa, where he received the endorsement of Veterans for a Strong America, a veterans group that previously defended him when he claimed that Senator John McCain wasn’t a war hero.

Except by “foreign policy address” I mean “fundraiser.” And by “a veterans group” I mean “one guy from South Dakota.”

Remember? Trump held a fundraiser for a veterans group that didn’t actually have veterans-plural?

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Donald Trump has, throughout the presidential race, used generalized groups of veterans as political props. After his fundraiser for that faux-veterans group, Trump threatened to boycott a debate hosted by CNN if they didn’t pay him $5 million, which he assured the nation he would directly transfer to “Wounded Warriors or the vets.” CNN didn’t pay up, and Trump still showed at the debate, so we don’t know if he would have followed through and actually donated $5 million to a group that would actually use the money to help veterans. But given how loosely Trump defines such groups, and how the “groups” he chooses to give charitable support to just so happen to have given him political cover when he needed it, there is absolutely no reason to believe that Trump’s donation would have helped any veterans in any material way.

And until Trump fills in the asterisks in his own press release announcing this bird-flipping event he’s holding to spite Fox, there isn’t any reason to believe so now.

Yeah, the story today is that Trump is showing Fox News and the rest of the Republican field who their daddy is. But at some point, it might be worth holding him accountable for the fact that he is, rather transparently, exploiting veterans for political gain.

UPDATE: Turns out that the “Veterans Organizations” that Trump’s event will raise money for are — drumroll — Donald Trump’s own foundation:

I’m sure that Donald Trump for Vets will raise SO MUCH MONEY that will go directly to “Veterans needs”

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Looks like Trump had a hard time finding any actual veterans organizations that wanted his money, so he’s standing up a shell organization of his own. Classy.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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54 Responses to “Is Trump actually raising money for veterans tonight? Does anyone care?”

  1. DenisetheCelt says:

    YOU are a scam artist. YOU deserve prison, for being a slanderer.

  2. DenisetheCelt says:

    Wow. Your jealousy, pettiness, resentment and nastiness is really disgusting. SHAME on you all.

  3. Moderator3 says:


  4. Opinionated Cat Lover says:

    Aww…I was having fun with him! :3

    But yes. He should be glad this isn’t RedState. He got a thread out of his trolling antics. There, they’d have banned him in a second if he dared criticize a hit-piece on a Team Blue politician. ;)

  5. Opinionated Cat Lover says:

    Oh yeah. I don’t need to convince you to devote yourself to tearing down others, and you’re already an idiot. :) Your literally very first post was accusing the author of not going out and helping people, but instead keyboard-warrioring about how Trump is transparent. You don’t know Jon Green. You don’t know anyone else on here. All you know is your narrow-minded perceptions, and your desire to troll the forum. So, troll on, trolikins. ;)

  6. Moderator3 says:

    You people? You have decided how the people on this blog act without knowing a thing about them. Good-bye.

  7. Opinionated Cat Lover says:

    Trolikins (and yes, you are a troll), you were the one who came on here and attacked Jon Green (and others) for pointing out that your Hero, the Trumpster, is using the veterans as a political football. Trolls take a conversation about a topic they don’t like, such as how the Donald is making political hay out of a group of people who really do need help, and diverts conversation from that topic to what you really do want to talk about, a hastily constructed strawman you want to tear down to impugn the character of people who disagree with you about Trump.

    It is working to a sort. I’m just calling you out on it.

    And now…..AND NOW….I leave you with the call of your people. TROLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!

  8. Opinionated Cat Lover says:

    Dude, you got some of Trump’s butthairs on your nose. ;)

    And the attack must have been effective. After all, you flung spittle on 3 comments here. Trololololololol!

  9. Opinionated Cat Lover says:

    Fiction has been used to make comments on reality time and time again. You must have missed that in your smug superiority fueled spittle-flinging rant.

    But that’s OK. You don’t know how much I do or do not help other people. You don’t know me at all. Nor I you, but I know the Internet, and I know that here, on the Internet, where the men are men, the women are men, the children are FBI agents, we all own small businesses, you have a Masters in Biochem and are a philanthropist, and nobody knows I’m a cat, you can be anything you want. ;)

  10. Aldous Huxley says:

    I care not for myself, trash it as you will, but if you get off your ass and help one person, I accomplished what I set out to do. People always assume people discus on the internet to be combative first, and then assume they are a troll. Then they look around and wonder why everyone in this country hates each other and why there is no sense of community. I just hate this new normal of criticizing first and acting last. Where people throw stones at charities for not starving, yet refuse to help others. A society that puts false egotism before virtue.

  11. Aldous Huxley says:

    I am? You are the one who refuses to help others while criticizing those who do with nothing more than suspicion and no proof. You are the one who is trying to convince me to devote myself to tearing down others or I am an idiot. You are the one who quotes fiction and is foolish enough to believe it completely pertains to every similar situation in reality, regardless of context.

    Repeating you are correct over and over again does not make you correct, and believing that it is so has devolved this country into mouth breathers who merely repeat what they hear on the media.

    I just want you people to stop making baseless accusations and actually go out and help other people. In other words, I want you to fucking practice what you preach. Apparently, that’s too difficult. May interfere with your useless evening of wasting time on netflix.

  12. Aldous Huxley says:

    Quoting sci fi? Typical for a group of people who think membership to a political ideology makes them intelligent or learned. I went to school for 7 years for biochemistry, yet I run into close minded fools who mistake the ability to search something on google for their own ability.

    If all I accomplish is that you people stop criticizing others for doing good for one day, or hand out one blanket to the homeless during the winter, I have won. You fight for your egotism, I fight for humanity. Now give me some arrogant condescending fictional quote that somehow explains why I am the close minded one here. As if fiction can be used to make a factual argument.

  13. Opinionated Cat Lover says:

    How do you know he doesn’t?

    PS: Nice straw man you got there.

  14. Opinionated Cat Lover says:

    As The_Fixer proved, a good explanation is wasted on you. To borrow a quote from Stargate SG1, you immediately know the candlelight is fire, so the meal was cooked long ago. Put in simpler terms, your mind is a steel trap: rusted shut. Why waste effort trying to convince you of anything. Would just rather laugh at you and call you a moron.

  15. Opinionated Cat Lover says:

    1) cute. You believe what a politician says.

    2) You make the claim, you provide the evidence. It’s not on our shoulders to do your research.

  16. Opinionated Cat Lover says:

    While we’re at it, does he have any evidence that you, or anyone else, hasn’t?

  17. Opinionated Cat Lover says:

    Oh cute. You’re being smashed up and down this forum for your beliefs. Not to pile on, but I just have to point this out.

    Donald Trump raised 6 million last night for his veteran’s charity, not a veteran’s charity. But keep shilling for him. :)

  18. RBurn4318 says:

    Trump is not only a coward, but a punk who thinks because he has money he can say and do whatever he wants. And believe it or not Joe, he doesn’t give a about you or even know who you are, so wake up.

  19. Aldous Huxley says:

    Go and feed the homeless for one night. I dare you.

  20. Aldous Huxley says:

    It is the same thing. Learning new words and trying to make it sound clever does not undo the essence of the action, your first argument is a style over substance fallacy.

    Spare me your false dichotomy, every politician for the past thirty years has treated veterans like shit. Whenever a democrat does it, republicans say they are terrible people while excusing their side, and when a republican does it we get half of your argument which is the same as the former. By the way, assuming as a matter of course that everyone who disagrees with you is fully republican is a vast over generalization and almost guaranteed to be wrong. Also, without comprehensive stats on every politicians’ voting pattern to establish if it is lop sided one way or the other, your argument can be chalked up to anecdote only, which is almost always biased.

    Donald Trump has no ability as of yet to institute administrative change to help veterans beyond fundraising because he does not yet hold a political office. Claiming he is disingenuous because he can not accomplish something impossible IS disingenuous.

    Donald Trump raised 6 million last night for a veterans charity. That is an act of good. If the charity abuses his action, the charity is at fault, not Donald. We need to end this trend in America where people are punished for trying to do good. Like that kid who turned in the knife he accidentally brought to school and was expelled, all we are doing is teaching the next generation of Americans that the appearance of nobility is more important than being honest. Of course, you claim to be doing this to promote honesty but the reality is that you will see dishonesty in his actions while you turn a blind eye to dishonesty committed on your side or in your favor. Human nature can be a bitch, and America needed a giant mirror for Christmas last year.

  21. Aldous Huxley says:

    That sounds like gotcha propaganda that is orchestrated against any candidate that is not a wall street/media/washington darling.

  22. Aldous Huxley says:

    A strawman against the man, followed by a meaningless statement. Are we saying that if you do not toe the political line, you should be ashamed of yourself? The status quo of politicians in the pocket of big business is built upon the thought policing of people like you. Politicians represent the people, not a range of acceptable ideals according to a group of professional gossipers.

  23. Aldous Huxley says:

    Bullshit. Every time anyone of influence rises up to help vets people like you, who usually haven’t lifted a finger to help the groups they claim to care about so much, come out and accuse them of using vets as political tools. You would rather tear other people down to maintain the image that you care rather than actually helping. Trump raised 6 million for vets last night; more than anyone on this blog has done for them. Yet people like you will nitpick about every detail to find some evil and then pretend the act of good is negated to push your self image above others.

  24. Moderator3 says:

    Put up or shut up. I doubt you will break your wrist by typing three or four of his points. If you want to copy and paste a few points, that would be okay.

  25. Darlene Roberts says:

    He is a scam artist stealing from vets by frauduent fund raisers it has been proven the money goes in his personal account and very little goes to the vets! He deserves prison!

  26. Dustin T Clark says:

    On his site he has a pretty specific set of changes and plans for the administration. If you read it yourself, you wont have to make guesses and ask me.

  27. Dustin T Clark says:

    Look for yourself. No input for me is necessary if you know how to read.

  28. Dustin T Clark says:

    lol your rude comments and tone of attitude suggest your mind is deprived of anything deemed worthy of an intelligent thought.

  29. cinorjer says:

    Trump giving any money to Wounded Warriors is about as helpful to actual vets as him keeping the money for himself, anyway. That organization has a well deserved reputation for spending most of their donations on themselves.

  30. zombie funk says:

    One dumbass agreeing with another dumbass. lol

  31. zombie funk says:

    You sir are cruelly depriving a village somewhere of an idiot.

  32. Jon Green says:

    What has Donald Trump, specifically, said he would do to fix the Veterans Administration?

  33. nofauxnews says:

    Obama chickened out of political debates too? When?

  34. Dustin T Clark says:

    Well from what I have witnessed within the last several months, Trump was the first person to even bring the veterans and VA up as a very serious problem. I wasnt hearing much discussion at all, if any, about it from anyone else. Regardless of your criticism and skepticism of his motives and incentives, he has brought up issues with the VA and issued policy specifying what he plans to do to fix it as a top priority. He brings it up in about every rally. He seems to be the only candidate who has made it part of his/her platform since the date of his announced candidacy. Before you spout your 2-sense on what you “think” is going to happen, why dont you just wait till after the event and find out what exactly happened with the money so you don’t sound like a fool advocating against the supporting of veterans. That way you will be fully justified and this article could perhaps have been actual news worthy instead of very heavy opinionated criticism crap.

  35. Dustin T Clark says:

    Well, I think you nailed it right there.

  36. BeccaM says:

    No, idiot. Veterans never get the aid they need because your favored politicians just love to use them as props and claim they’re going to help these wounded warriors — then as soon as these Republicans are in office, they throw vets right under the bus, along with everyone else to whom they’ve made empty promises.

    Trump can’t even make himself give to legitimate veterans advocacy and aid groups. Probably because he’s such a scammer and grifter himself, he naturally gravitates towards the same kinds of scam artists. The ones who keep what few bucks Trump lobs at them and then don’t actually help anyone but themselves.

  37. Dustin T Clark says:

    lol good point joe!!!!

  38. BeccaM says:

    There’s a world of difference between a politician SAYING they’ve given to veterans and, y’know, actually doing it.

    Trump is a hack. He’s claimed his going to a military-style boarding school as a kid was effectively the same thing as serving in the U.S. military. His empty statements and stolen-valor behavior should offend any veteran or active-duty servicemember.

    And if you support Trump, you should be ashamed to show your face in public.

  39. Erika says:

    No, not any politician. Only those who have a fundraising for A veteran, calling him a veteran’s association?

  40. Erika says:

    Who gives a crap if he shows up or not. You’re missing the point of this article completely….the veterans are tired of being used by this idiot.

  41. The_Fixer says:

    Don’t confuse adult mockery with schoolyard mockery.

    First off, if you want to talk about the Veterans, let’s talk about the treatment that they’ve received from our own government – primarily at the hands on one Ex-President G.W. Bush. Sent into an unnecessary war without proper equipment and sent home to a filthy and decrepit Walter Reed Army Hospital. Let’s talk about their treatment, or lack of it, when they returned home.

    Let’s talk about their needs not being met. Let’s talk about the challenges they face when they get home, and the permanent injuries with which many are forced to endure on a daily basis.

    The reason why veterans don’t get the aid that they need is simply because enough politicians really don’t care. I am not talking about candidates like Trump, I am talking about the ones already in office. Congress has been given many opportunities to increase funding for the treatment of vets, yet time after time, they kill such bills or let them die in committee. Why? Because they scream about their expense. Funny, they don’t scream about expense when they want to send them to Iraq, Iran, or Syria. It’s no secret that these politicians are largely Republicans, who love to scream about balancing the budget until it comes to starting wars.

    There are many legitimate veterans aid organizations. However, they shouldn’t need to exist. Can you show me direct data of cause and effect in your assertion? I don’t think so, largely because I think you pulled it out of… thin air.

    Show me direct data. The things I’ve cited are part of the public record, your assertion is not.

  42. Jon Green says:

    Do you have any evidence that Trump has ever done anything that resulted in any sum of money going to any legitimate veterans organization?

  43. Aldous Huxley says:

    Because, shamefully, he has done more than 99.99999% of the people that now all of the sudden care because they want to attack their political opponent.

  44. Jon Green says:

    Trump, moreso than “any politician,” has given us no reason to believe that this fundraising campaign is legitimate, and every reason to believe that his stated care for vets is empty. Why should we take someone with a history of using vets as a prop at their word in cases like this?

  45. Aldous Huxley says:

    Have an actual rebuttal? Or do you think schoolyard mockery amounts to adult discourse? Incentives motivate behavior, and attacks by malcontents who give nothing themselves to any cause or help anyone themselves deserve to fall on deaf ears.

  46. Aldous Huxley says:

    Every time any politician says they have given to veterans, people like you come out to throw this bullshit at them. You live your life by tearing other people down, no matter how big the smile on your face is while your doing it. Probably why Trump hasn’t advertised how much he has given.

    And like someone who has nothing but empty criticism, you use snark instead of replying to my argument.

  47. nicho says:

    As far as I know, there is no constitutional requirement that Trump endure yet one more GOP “debate.” So why would he do it? There are several reason you subject yourself to one of these idiot shows.

    1. You want to get face time on TV (Trump doesn’t need it)
    2. You want to get your message out (Trump is doing fine without Fox)
    3. You want a give and take with the other candidates (Fox won’t allow that)

    So, there is no up side for Trump to go on the show. And it will basically just be a chance for Fox to ambush him and trash him with a Gish Gallop of their lies. I’m no fan of Trump at all, but if I were he, I wouldn’t go on the show either. Screw them.

    Why Fox is panicking is because their potential ratings are sinking like a stone — as is their potential ad revenue. Currently ads are selling at a minuscule fraction of what they would bring were he in the “debate.” Fox could take a bath on this.

  48. nicho says:

    Ring the buzzer. Tell the attendant your meds are screwed up.

  49. BeccaM says:

    I have to laugh at Trump’s repeated savaging-via-Twitter of Megyn Kelly, given how gushingly effusive he used to be with praise for her, right up until that one debate where she failed to rhetorically fellate him there on the stage.

    I guess a man with skin that thin is bound to be transparent, too.

  50. joe Broz says:

    If Trump is a coward, what is Obama? BHO is the most predominant yellow-belly on the planet, none lower. And Trump bashers have been content to endure this racist/communist for seven years.

  51. The_Fixer says:

    Ha! You’re a very funny man. Take that act on the road, I’m sure that you’ll kill with it.

  52. Hue-Man says:

    O/T but a reminder that politics isn’t just about Trump’s massive ego.

    “A veteran MP losing his voice to the ravages of Lou Gehrig’s disease found an innovative way to make himself heard in the House of Commons Wednesday.”

    “[Mauril] Bélanger used a program on his iPad that read his remarks for him through the microphone on his desk. It marked the first time a speech has been delivered electronically in the House.”

    “Bélanger’s speech sparked a standing ovation. NDP MPs Peter Julian and Romeo Saganash came across the aisle to shake his hand, as did the prime minister.”

    After the October 19th election, Bélanger was considering a run for Speaker of the House of Commons. He saw his doctor because he was having voice problems.

  53. Jon Green says:

    Yes, I am the problem here.

  54. Aldous Huxley says:

    And this is why veterans never get the aid that they need, because any politician doing so will be accused of using veterans for political gain. People like you provide perverse incentives and then act surprised when the world gets shittier.

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