Fox host Bill O'Reilly defended presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump from criticism about the transparency of his donations to veterans groups after multiple Washington Post reports revealed that Trump had not donated the alleged $6 million to veterans organizations in the months following a fundraising event on January 28th.
Donald Trump announced on May 31 that he had donated $5.6 million raised in a televised benefit for veterans charities. During his announcement Trump attacked the media for pressuring him to disclose his donations:
“I wasn’t looking for the credit, but I had no choice but to do this because the press was saying I didn’t raise any money for them,” Trump said.
The donations Trump announced on Tuesday were related to a Jan. 28 fundraiser for veterans that he held in Des Moines, on a night when Trump skipped a GOP debate due to a feud with its host, Fox News. That night, Trump said he'd raised $6 million. Most of it came from other donors, but Trump said he would give $1 million of his own.
Later that evening Bill O’Reilly defended Trump on the May 31 edition of The O’Reilly Factor. During the show, O’Reilly argued that “there was no data” proving Donald Trump “didn't give the money,” and argued that media scrutiny directed at Trump's fundraiser was “basically a supposition, fabricated by anti-Trump people in the press.”
But according to reports,Trump had not donated all of the money he raised for veterans until after his campaign received scrutiny from journalist, and could not provide a total accounting of how much money was raised or which organizations it had been donated to.
On May 21, The Washington Post’s David Farenthold reported that Trump’s campaign manager revealed that Trumps fundraiser “actually netted about $4.5 million, or 75 percent of the total that Trump announced” for veterans groups:
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.”
Lewandowski also said he did not know whether a $1 million pledge from Trump himself was counted as part of the $4.5 million total. He said Trump has given that amount, but he declined to identify any recipients.
Even with the lower total, Trump’s fundraiser brought in millions of dollars for veterans’ charities. The Washington Post’s accounting, based on interviews with charities, has found at least $3.1 million in donations to veterans groups.
The Washington Post also reported that 4 months after his initial pledge, Trump gave his own $1 million donation only after he received scrutiny from the press:
Almost four months after promising $1 million of his own money to veterans’ causes, Donald Trump moved to fulfill that pledge Monday evening — promising the entire sum to a single charity as he came under intense media scrutiny.
Trump, now the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, organized a nationally televised fundraiser for veterans’ causes in Des Moines on Jan. 28. That night, Trump said he had raised $6 million, including the gift from his own pocket.
“Donald Trump gave $1 million,” he said then.
As recently as last week, Trump’s campaign manager had insisted that the mogul had already given that money away. But that was false: Trump had not.
And CBS News reported that much of the money that was donated was dated “May 24, the day The Washington Post published the story questioning whether he had distributed all of the money."