As part of Donald Trump’s tactical retreat away from a Fox News debate that he claims will be biased against him, the Republican front-runner announced that he would be holding a competing event to raise money for veterans.
The candidate “will instead host an event in Iowa to raise money for the Veterans and Wounded Warriors, who have been treated so horribly by our all talk, no action politicians,” according to his PR team. If that sounds like a shameless stunt meant to humiliate Fox News without looking petty by using wounded American troops as props – that’s because it is.
But even worse than that, Trump has spent decades loudly complaining about “homeless veterans” who he considered an eyesore that threatened his precious property values. His love for the troops appears to be entirely new. In the years prior to running for president, Trump was all about getting rid of them (to where he doesn’t say).
In 1991, then just a rich playboy Donald Trump wrote a letter blasting what he saw as New York City’s inability to address homelessness. Not that Trump wanted to solve homelessness exactly, he just wanted the poor out of his sightline.
“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.
“Do we allow Fifth Ave., one of the world’s finest and most luxurious shopping districts, to be turned into an outdoor flea market, clogging and seriously downgrading the area?” Trump demanded.
And if any optimists out there might want to believe Trump has had a change of heart in the years since, he doubled-down on his appalling stance on homeless veterans in 2004. This time he wrote to Mayor Michael Bloomberg directly:
“Whether they are veterans or not, they [the vendors] should not be allowed to sell on this most important and prestigious shopping street,” Trump declared.
He warned, “The image of New York City will suffer… I hope you can stop this very deplorable situation before it is too late.”
Trump, whose wealth meant he never had to serve in Vietnam alongside his peers, has used soldiers as a blunt instrument to criticize the government. On the campaign trail, he consistently feigned sympathy for the plight of the veteran. His latest stunt, the fundraiser for veterans held opposite the Republican debate he was supposed to be attending, is as bold as it is shameless. Not only has Trump shown no compassion for veterans before it was politically important to, he’s shown no interest in charity more generally.
The business mogul often brags about how much money he has, but he certainly isn’t sharing it. According to tax returns, Trump had given his own “charitable organization” the Trump Foundation just $3.7 million… over the span of 20 years. By comparison, the World Wrestling Entertainment organization has given more to Trump’s charity than its namesake. His behavior after 9/11 is even more appalling.
While other wealthy Americans poured money into relief funds for the victims of 9/11, Trump managed to donate just $1000 to the New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Fund… a charity run by Scientologists… and five years after the attacks. To put that in perspective, Bill and Malinda Gates gave over $1 million to various 9/11 charity groups in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks – a mere 10,000 times as much as Donald “Most Successful Man” Trump.
So it seems all of this scrutiny about Trump during the election has only confirmed what we’ve known all along: Donald Trump is an opportunistic greed monster whose only real gift is his ability to shamelessly pander when he feels it might further his own brand or profits. For years he’s attacked homeless veterans, one of the most vulnerable groups in America because he felt they would make his buildings “suffer” by their presence. All the money in the world can’t make up for Trump’s lack of compassion or respect for these men and women.
Feature image via YouTube screengrab
Jameson covers US politics, social justice issues, and other current events which aren’t getting the attention they deserve.
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