“Why should I give you the records,” Donald Trump told the Washington Post earlier this month. “I don’t have to give you records.”
Did Trump or didn’t Trump raise the $6 million he claimed for veterans groups when he boycotted the January pre-Iowa caucus debate on Fox News?
Campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said the fundraiser actually netted about $4.5 million, or 75 percent of the total that Trump announced.
Lewandowski blamed the shortfall on Trump’s own wealthy acquaintances. He said some of them had promised big donations that Trump was counting on when he said he had raised $6 million. But Lewandowski said those donors backed out and gave nothing.
“There were some individuals who he’d spoken to, who were going to write large checks, [who] for whatever reason . . . didn’t do it,” Lewandowski said in a telephone interview. “I can’t tell you who.”
As always, Trump wants us to believe him because he said so. His net worth, his tax return, his medical records, all of it is one big “believe me.”
But nobody, even the vaunted news hounds at the Washington Post, can account for the money, even the reduced $4.5 million total Lewandowski cited.
Group after group contacted by WaPo couldn’t shed any light on the untracked money. If we believe Trump’s statement that $670,000 was raised from small-dollar donors over the Internet, a total of $4.45 million was raised. Of course we don’t know from anyone except Trump himself if he gave the promised $1 million of his own funds.
Trump provided no official way for charities to apply for the money. Groups around the country still tried, sending letters and hitting up local veterans-for-Trump leaders.
We have no idea if all that cash was really distributed. But Trump called the newspaper “dishonest” for reporting that fact.
Because “believe me.”