Five-time draft deferment Donald Trump tried to buy the love of American soldiers so he could use them at his rally, and it went about as well as one might expect.
It’s obvious why Donald Trump would want to appear as if he had the troops on his side: He’s spent much of his campaign insulting them. Whether it was implying that POWs were “losers” or mistakenly featuring the servicemen of other countries (including Nazis and Russian soldiers) in his political ads, it’s clear that Trump has only a surface-deep appreciation of all the sacrifices America’s military has made.
Needless to say, his pandering in the face of his reprehensible actions didn’t go over well. In a bombshell exclusive by The Daily Beast‘s Tim Mak, Trump was exposed as having tried to bribe a veterans charity “to be his political prop” for a promise of $100,000.
On Friday, Liberty House executive director Keith Howard received a call from a Trump campaign staffer, who conveyed that Trump would like to publicly present them with a six-figure check at a Londonderry rally on Monday, right before the Granite State primary.
It’s an enormous amount of money for a small charity. But Howard said he wouldn’t do it—risking the entire, substantial donation on a point of principle.
Howard was right to question Trump’s donation. Apart from being manipulated by the Republican front-runner to serve his agenda, the charity would have probably lost its “nonprofit” status by appearing at a Trump rally. After Trump’s convoy pulled out and headed towards their next rally, the charity would have been left with a sizable check but without legal standing. Not that Trump seemed to care what would happen if the group actually accepted his bribe.
Even worse, Trump was running this bribe through his “Donald J. Trump Foundation” which, as Mak notes, is very likely considered an illegal campaign contribution to himself.
The campaign utilizing the foundation to help support and promote campaign events is a potential legal problem for both the campaign and the Trump Foundation,” said Larry Noble, general counsel at the Campaign Legal Center.
The value of the work the foundation did to assist the campaign event could be considered an illegal campaign contribution. And the foundation is barred from getting involved in political activity, such as supporting a campaign rally, he continued. “Neither the foundation nor other charities should be working hand-in-hand with the campaign to promote Trump’s campaign events.”
Which is exactly what Trump’s charity is doing. It hasn’t escaped the attention of some in the media.
— Lawrence O'Donnell (@Lawrence) January 29, 2016
Hilariously, Howard later called Trump’s campaign and told them that if they were serious about helping veterans, they wouldn’t mind giving him the contribution behind closed doors and not, say, at a giant political rally. This of course would defeat the whole purpose for Trump. What good is charity if you can’t brag about it to pander to voters? For days, Trump’s campaign signaled that they were very disappointed that the veteran’s group wouldn’t help Trump look good – but finally, sensing a losing battle, they relented. Howard got his money, but on his terms.
So much for Trump being an expert “deal maker,” as he just got played by a small charity to the tune of $100,000.
Featured image via Gage Skidmore/Flickr