The Fallout From Trump’s “Veterans’ Charities” Press Conference

Steve Benen, writing for MSNBC’s “Maddow Blog,” sums up the bits and pieces of Donald Trump’s poorly handled press conference yesterday regarding the dispersal of funds to veterans’ charities:

So where does that leave us? Trump said he’d raised $6 million for veterans, but that wasn’t true. He later claimed he never used the $6 million figure, but that wasn’t true. His campaign insisted Trump had contributed $1 million himself, but that wasn’t true. Trump said he “didn’t want to have credit” for the fundraising efforts, but that wasn’t true. He said he and his team were vetting groups they’d never heard of four months after the fact, but that wasn’t true.

And as of yesterday, all of this, the Republican candidate insisted, is the media’s fault. Indeed, Trump thinks journalists should be “ashamed” of themselves for scrutinizing his claims that turned out to be wrong.

Not to put too fine a point on this, but in a normal year, in a normal party, with a normal candidate, this is the sort of controversy that could end a campaign. Legitimate presidential hopefuls can get away with some dissembling and the occasional whopper, but Trump was caught telling obvious falsehoods about support for veterans’ charities.

If this happened to Hillary Clinton, is there any doubt it would be the #1 issue in the presidential race between now and Election Day? That every pundit in America would use this as Exhibit A in their takes on why Americans just can’t trust the Democrat?

Donald Trump Rails Against “Sleaze” Media

In what was supposed to be a press conference about his fund-raising for veterans, GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump went on an angry rant against the press, calling out reporters as “sleaze” for not giving him enough credit for raising money for veterans.

“Instead of being like, ‘Thank you very much, Mr. Trump,’ or ‘Trump did a good job,’ everyone said: ‘Who got it? Who got it? Who got it?’” Trump said. “And you make me look very bad. I have never received such bad publicity for doing a good job.”

ABC News’ Tom Llama earned the badge of “sleaze” for asking how much money Trump raised for veterans.

“What I don’t want is when I raise millions of dollars, have people say this sleazy guy right over here from ABC, he’s a sleaze in my book — you’re a sleaze because you know the facts and you know the facts well,” said Trump pointing to Llama.

Llama took the attack in stride on Twitter:

From Talking Points Memo:

During the Trump Tower press conference, Trump announced that he raised $5.6 million for veterans groups, down from the $6 million he originally said that he raised for veterans group at the January fundraiser he held in lieu of attending a Fox News debate.

But since his initial claim, it’s been unclear just how much Trump raised, how much he personally donated to veterans groups, and which groups received donations as a result of the fundraiser. Trump on Tuesday characterized the number as “almost $6 million.”

Throughout the press conference, Trump railed against the press for looking into the details of his fundraiser.

“The press should be ashamed of themselves,” he said, telling reporters, “You make me look very bad.”

Trump said that he wanted the donations to veterans groups to be “private” and that he didn’t want “credit” for the money he raised, and said he was forced to reveal details about the fundraiser because of the press. He also said that it took time for him to send donations to veterans groups because he had to vet the groups.

“The press is so dishonest and so unfair,” he lamented.

PSA: Bradley Cooper, Chris Pratt, Sally Field & More Support Our Veterans

Tomorrow is Veteran’s Day, so the timing couldn’t be better for this new PSA starring Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Sally Field and more.

Got Your 6 works to bridge the military-civilian divide by empowering veterans as leaders in the community upon their return home.

Veterans return to our communities as trained leaders, team builders and problem solvers with a desire to continue serving here at home.

Head over to for more info.

And support our veterans.

More Video From The Irreverent Warriors Shirtless March For Veterans

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Shirtless Marines are walking for a good cause.These Marines are walking 22 kilometers without their shirts on for a very good reasonPosted by NowThis on Monday, July 27, 2015

Hunky Service Members Show Their Support With 22KM Shirtless March

This past Saturday, 50 active duty service members and veterans walked 22 kilometers (14 miles) from south Mission Beach to La Jolla, California, wearing nothing but their green silkies and combat boots, to raise awareness for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and suicide prevention.

The muscle hunks who organized the walk call themselves the Irreverent Warriors and the number of kilometers (22) they’ll walk and the weight that they’ll carry represents the 22 service members who die from suicide each day.

From the group’s website:

We are combat veterans who choose to tell our stories in the same manner that we’d tell them in a living room with our best bros. We choose to express our dark humor and let our terrible jokes fly like eagles, all in an effort to get combat vets to laugh, get together, and stop fucking killing themselves.

(via Gaily Grind)

Photography: Michael Stokes “Always Loyal” & “Exhibition”

California photographer Michael Stokes has two new large-scale, coffee table, art books in the works. One features wounded US veterans (Always Loyal) and the other explores male figure studies (Exhibition).

Stokes is widely acclaimed not only for his work capturing the male physique, but in celebrating our wounded soldiers.

His Kickstarter campaign has 12 days left but his results there are spectacular. With an original goal of $48,000, he’s raised a jaw-dropping $203K.

Donations to his campaign include copies of one or both books.

The images are gorgeous and well-worth  drooling over pursuing. Take a look at some of the images to be included in the projects in the video below.

Veterans Administration Confirms Benefits For Same-Sex Married Couples

Dalan Wells and Sgt. Brandon Morgan

From the Washington Blade:

Following the U.S. Supreme Court decision in favor of same-sex marriage across the country, the Department of Veterans Affairs on Monday confirmed it’s set to issue spousal benefits to gay, lesbian and bisexual veterans regardless of their state of residence.

Walinda West, a VA spokesperson, told the Washington Blade the ruling striking down all state bans on same-sex marriage allows the department to “recognize the same-sex marriage of all veterans” anywhere in the United States.

“VA will work quickly to ensure that all offices and employees are provided guidance on implementing this important decision with respect to all programs, statutes, and regulations administered by VA,” West said.

U.S. Senate Republicans Vote With Dems On Equal Federal Benefits For Same-Sex Married Couples

Eleven Senate Republicans crossed the aisle to vote with all of the Democrats last night in approving an amendment to guarantee equal Social Security and veterans benefits to married same-sex couples based on where the marriage was GRANTED, not the state of residence.

Via Buzzfeed:

The amendment, proposed by Sen. Brian Schatz, addressed the fact that both Social Security and some provisions of veterans’ benefits are, by statute, provided to spouses on the basis of whether a couple’s marriage is recognized by the state in which they live. The amendment would provide for benefits for spouses for all married same-sex couples, regardless of where they live.

Schatz praised the bipartisan support the measure received.

“Tonight, eleven Republicans joined Democrats in recognizing that gay couples deserve equal treatment, regardless of where they live,” he said. “We still have work to do to, but this is progress and a win for equal rights.”

Six of the 11 Republicans voting for the measure are up for re-election in 2016. They know where the arc of history will bend.

The 11 Republicans were Ayotte (NH), Burr (NC), Collins (ME), Heller (NV), Johnson (WI), Kirk (IL), Moore Capito (WV), Murkowski (AL), Portman (OH), and Tillis (NC).

USF Kappa Sigma Brothers Bring Margaritas, Massages & “Magic Mike” To Charity Auctin

Down at the University of South Florida, the brothers of Kappa Sigma took their annual fraternity auction in a “Magic Mike” direction with some promo videos to help loosen the purse strings at their event.

The event auctioned off date packages with the brothers, some of which included margaritas, sky diving and massages to help the men raise over $2,700 for Fisher House, which aids wounded veterans and their families in recovering as they come home from war. Along the way, the evening also featured a choreographed routine a la “Magic Mike” to BSB’s “I Want It That Way.”

(Ok, so maybe walking the runway and dropping some of their clothes along the way also had SOMETHING to do with the fund-raising…)

Check out one of the videos below.