Donald Trump on Tuesday blasted reporters who scrutinized where millions of dollars he claimed to raise for veterans in January went, but about half of the charities who received the donations hadn't been given the funds until last week after a Washington Post report questioned if the money had been distributed.
While the majority of the money was raised back in January, about half of the charity groups reached by the Associated Press said the checks were dated May 24 — the same day the presumptive Republican presidential nominee was questioned about the money in a Washington Post interview.
The checks were sent via overnight express, the groups said.
Trump campaign staffers had declined to release a list of organizations that had benefitted from the January fundraiser for months. On Tuesday, Trump called a press conference to release the names of 41 groups that received a total of $5.6 million in donations, and railed against journalists who had questioned where the money had gone.
"Instead of being like, 'Thank you very much, Mr. Trump,' or 'Trump did a good job,' everyone's saying, 'Who got it? 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."
The fundraiser was held Jan. 28, the same day and at nearly the same time as Trump's Republican rivals appeared at a Fox News presidential debate. Trump, who at the time was embroiled in a dispute with the network and one of its most popular hosts, Megyn Kelly, refused to attend the debate and hosted the fundraiser instead.
Trump said during the fundraiser he had donated $1 million himself to veterans.
In all, the news agency spoke with 30 of the 41 organizations listed by Trump, and about half of them said they didn't receive a check until last week.
The Washington Post's David Fahrenthold had been reaching out to veteran's organizations to find out where the $5.6 million had been donated, including the $1 million donated by Trump himself.
Campaign staffers would not say where the money had been donated, and when Fahrenthold took to Twitter to reach out to organizations to see if they had been beneficiaries, Trump responded.
Trump's campaign had itself issued contradictory statements and issued what on Tuesday was shown to be false statements about the money.
On the day of the Jan. 28 fundraiser, Trump said he had raised $6 million for veterans, a figure that ended up being $400,000 less.
Earlier this month, Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told the Post that Trump's $1 million donation had already been distributed, which turned out to not be true.
Trump then told the Washington Post on May 24 he made his $1 million donation the day before, nearly four months after the actual fundraiser. The check, however, was dated May 24, the charity told the AP.
After the donation was made, Trump apparently called Fahrenthold to talk about the donations.
"Not until Trump called me on Tuesday afternoon to say he'd just given the whole million at once," did Fahrenthold find out the money had still not been donated, he said in a Washington Post account of the story.
When the reporter asked Trump whether he donated the money only after reporters starting asking about it, Trump answered, "You know, you're a nasty guy. You're a really nasty guy. I gave out millions of dollars that I had no obligation to do."
Salvador Hernandez is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Salvador Hernandez at email@example.com.
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