NEW YORK — Donald Trump held a news conference Tuesday morning to announce that he raised at least $5.6 million for veterans charities in recent months and slammed the press for dogging him with questions over the donations.
“All of the money has been paid out,” Trump said. “The press should be ashamed of themselves, and on behalf of the veterans, the press should be ashamed of themselves.”
The news conference comes four months after Trump first announced he had raised $6 million — including $1 million of his own money — for veterans causes during a fundraiser he hosted instead of attending a GOP primary debate.
“There are so many people who are so thankful for what we did,” Trump said, adding that the final figure could top $6 million once all the donations are in.
Trump listed the groups that had received money and the amounts that had been given to each. He said there were no administrative costs.
Trump revised that figure recently to $5.5 million following months of questions from reporters struggling to track the funds and dodging on the exact amount from the Trump campaign.
Trump himself disbursed his $1 million pledge last week to the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, a charity that helps support the families of fallen Marines and law enforcement officers to which Trump’s foundation has previously donated.
Amid reporters’ questions, Trump and his campaign have repeatedly offered conflicting accounts of how much money was raised and declined multiple requests to provide a full accounting. The campaign has insisted it was working on disbursing the funds, but said it was waiting on some donors to make good on their pledges and also needed to properly vet the charities in the running to receive the funds.
“Why should I give you records?” Trump told The Washington Post in an interview earlier this month. “I don’t have to give you records.”
As reporters’ inquiries dogged Trump, the billionaire has lashed out at the media, accusing them of twisting what should be a positive story.
Three veterans groups earlier Tuesday confirmed donations from the Trump Foundation. The Bob Woodruff Foundation and the Boston Wounded Vets Run each confirmed donations of $75,000 apiece. The Racing For Heroes Foundation also received what the group’s president described as a “large” donation.
The Clinton campaign on Tuesday morning fired off a statement tweaking Trump over his accounting of the donations amid a multi-pronged push to counter Trump’s news conference.