Is Trump’s $6 million really going to veterans?

Is Trump’s $6 million really going to veterans?

Screenshot from video of Donald Trump's speech at Drake University.

While the rest of the Republican Presidential candidates were attending the final debate before the Iowa caucuses, Donald Trump, who publicly refused to attend, held his own event at Drake University in Iowa to raise money for veterans.

Trump, surrounded by hundreds of his most enthusiastic supporters, boasted donating $1 million of his personal money in addition to raising another $5 million dollars for veterans.

“You know, my whole theme is make America great again and that’s what we’re going to do — and we wouldn’t have even been here if it weren’t for our vets,” Trump said.

He continued to say, “Our vets are being mistreated. Illegal immigrants are treated better in many cases than our vets and it’s not going to happen any more. It’s not going to happen any more.”

While no other candidate has publically raised this much money for ‘veterans,’ many veterans groups are calling into question Trump’s actual commitment to veterans and the manner in which the funds will be spent.

The founder of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Paul Riechhoff, said, “If offered, IAVA will decline donations from Trump’s event.  We need strong policies from candidates, not to be used for political stunts” via Twitter.

The chairman of VoteVets.org said Trump is “a third-rate politician, who clearly doesn’t understand issues, and is so scared of Megyn Kelly exposing it, that you’re looking to use veterans to protect you from facing her questions.”

No one has questioned his ability to raise funds, but his lack of sincerity and commitment has come under fire.  His veteran website, https://www.donaldtrumpforvets.com/, is nothing more than a stock image of a soldier saluting a flag and a payment form to process credit card donations.

The website clearly states, “100% of your donations will go directly to Veterans needs,” but lacks any information about when, where, and how the money will be spent on veterans.

Even more disconcerting is the non-profit listed as the receiver of the funds is the Donald J Trump Foundation which has little history of donating to veteran organizations.

According to a report in Forbes, “The Donald J. Trump Foundation has donated $5.5 million to 298 charities between 2009 and 2013 (the most recent year available)…Of that, only $57,000 has been donated to seven organizations that directly benefit military veterans or their families”

As of today there is no way to tell if veterans will actually see a significant portion of the $6 million raised on their behalf.  But if they don’t, it will be clear that Trump was just using veterans as an excuse to have more than the thirteen minutes of microphone time the other candidates were allotted at the debate.

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