Monday, February 20, 2017

What has Donald Trump done for veterans?

Donald Trump placed planters in front of his Fifth Avenue building
to discourage veterans - some disabled war vets - from setting up pushcarts.
(via Google Maps, August 2013)
Click image to enlarge.

Last Friday, Local 10 News sent a reporter to Palm Beach County to cover the weekend visit - his third weekend in a row - of Donald Trump.

The reporter managed to get some some interesting sound bites from the dozens of Trump loyalists who showed up to demonstrate their support.

One of the supporters, Chris Nick, choked back tears as he told the reporter that Trump was "a good man."

"I just appreciate what he's doing for the veterans," said Nick.

I'm sure if the reporter had asked Nick just exactly what it was that Trump had done for "the veterans," he would have struggled to answer.

The reality is that Trump has done nothing for "the veterans."

In May of last year — after being squeezed by Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold — Trump announced he'd given away money to veterans groups that he'd raised four months before.
On Tuesday [May 31], Donald Trump announced that he'd given away the last of the $5.6 million that he raised four months ago, at a benefit for veterans' causes in Iowa. In a bitter, combative press conference, Trump made clear that he'd been pressured into giving up these details by the news media, including The Washington Post.


How many new donations were announced on Tuesday?

By The Post's count, 18 new gifts, totaling about $1.5 million.

In each case, Trump was giving away other people's money. Other donors, both large and small, had entrusted this money to the Donald J. Trump Foundation, on the understanding that Trump would then distribute it to veterans.

On the same day the Post published its story, the New York Times reported:
[Trump] called a news conference ostensibly to answer questions about his fund-raising for charities that benefit military veterans. But Donald J. Trump instead spent most of his time on live television Tuesday berating the journalists covering his presidential campaign in unusually vitriolic and personal terms.

“You’re a sleaze,” he told a reporter for ABC.

“You’re a real beauty,” he told a reporter for CNN, snidely denigrating the man’s competence.

For 40 minutes, Mr. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, assailed those reporting on his candidacy with a level of venom rarely seen at all, let alone in public, from the standard-bearer of a major political party. Then he warned that a Trump White House would feature more of the same.

Historians reached back to the Nixon administration, with its reporter-stocked enemies list, for a fair comparison. Other scholars and political analysts suggested that Mr. Trump failed to appreciate the role journalists play in scrutinizing candidates as surrogates for the public, or drew connections to his denunciations of other adversaries and critics — like a federal judge in a case where Mr. Trump is being sued, or the Republican governor of New Mexico, whom Mr. Trump denigrated while campaigning in her state last week.

Let's go over that again: "Mr. Trump...assailed those reporting on his candidacy with a level of venom rarely seen at all, let alone in public."

Hmmm...sounds familiar, doesn't it?

But back to Trump and the vets....not all veterans are as gullible and ill-informed as the veteran interviewed in Palm Beach County last week.

With minimal effort and an Internet connection, Chris Nick would have learned that Trump hasn't done sh*t for veterans.

In 2015, the New York Daily News reported that Trump had complained on several occasions that veterans were ruining "the ambiance of Fifth Ave. — the address of his gleaming Trump Tower headquarters — was being wrecked by peddlers, including some he accused of only posing as vets."
“While disabled veterans should be given every opportunity to earn a living, is it fair to do so to the detriment of the city as a whole or its tax paying citizens and businesses?” Trump wrote in a 1991 letter to John Dearie, then-chairman of the state Assembly’s Committee on Cities.

In its story, the News noted that "New York’s original peddling exceptions for veterans date back to 1894 — created to give those disabled during the Civil War a chance to support themselves."

In May 2016, one of the New York City vets, former Marine Dan Rossi, a disabled veteran and longtime New York City street vendor, told Politico, "[Trump has] done more damage to the disabled veterans in this city than any other man.”


Forbes: When It Comes To Veterans, Donald Trump's Rhetoric Is Much More Generous Than His Giving Record

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