Trump Takes Reporters Head on in a Contentious News Conference About the $5.6 Million Dollars He Raised for Veterans
Donald Trump’s feud with the media boiled over on May 31 when he gave a press conference at Trump Tower to account for the money he promised to raise for veterans after receiving criticism when investigative journalists tried to track down the money.
The press conference—which ran about 40 minutes—began with an account of the $5.6 million that he raised for veterans. Trump then spent a good portion of the press conference lambasting the media, calling journalists “dishonest,” “not good people,” and among the worst human beings he has ever met.
“I’m the only one in the world who can raise almost $6 million for the veterans, have uniform applause by the veterans groups, and end up being criticized by press,” Trump lamented at one point.
“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,” Trump said. “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.”
Then the media onslaught began. “The press should be ashamed at themselves, and on behalf of the vets the press should be ashamed of themselves. They are calling me and they are furious,” Trump said.
At one point, he called ABC reporter Tom Llamas a “sleaze”:
“I could have asked all these groups to come here and I didn’t want to do that. I’m not looking for credit. But what I don’t want is when I raise millions of dollars, have people say, like this sleazy guy right over here from ABC,” Trump said, pointing to Llamas.
“He’s a sleaze in my book. You’re a sleaze because you know the facts and you know the facts well.”
At another point he called CNN’s Jim Acosta “a real beauty” after the reporter asked him if he would be able to cope with being scrutinized.
Trump also assured the crowd of journalists that he would be just as combative if he were elected president:
“Yeah, it is going to be like this,” Trump said. “You think I’m gonna change? I’m not gonna change.”
While this may be the most openly contentious Trump has been towards the press in a press conference, he has regularly pointed to the press area, called them “scum,” and encourages the crowd to jeer and boo in their direction.
On Jan. 28, Trump held a fundraiser for veterans instead of participating in the Fox News Republican debate before the Iowa caucus in protest of Megyn Kelly’s moderation.
Instead, he had a fundraiser where he claimed at the time to have raised $6 million.