NEW YORK — Donald Trump went on a sustained frontal assault against the media Tuesday, repeatedly calling out reporters as sleazy and dishonest.
The reason for the news conference was to announce that he had raised at least $5.6 million for vets, but Trump spent most of almost a full hour directing his invective at the press corps at Trump Tower in New York.
At one point, he was asked if this is how he planned to conduct himself if he won the White House and Trump said you better believe it.
“You think I’m gonna change? I’m not gonna change,” Trump said.
The news conference comes four months after Trump first announced he had raised $6 million — including $1 million of his own money — for veterans’ causes during a fundraiser he hosted instead of attending a GOP primary debate.
Trump repeatedly blasted the media for the way it has covered his fundraising for vets.
“All of the money has been paid out,” Trump said. “The press should be ashamed of themselves, and on behalf of the veterans, the press should be ashamed of themselves.”
“There are so many people who are so thankful for what we did,” Trump said, adding the final figure could top $6 million once all the donations are in.
“I’m totally accountable, but I didn’t want to have credit for it,” he added.
Trump listed the vets groups — there were more than 40 — that had received money and the amounts that had been given to each. He said there were no administrative costs.
Trump revised that figure recently to $5.5 million after months of questions from reporters struggling to track the funds and dodging on the exact amount from the Trump campaign.
Trump disbursed his $1 million pledge last week to the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, a charity that helps support the families of fallen Marines and law enforcement officers to which Trump’s foundation has previously donated.
Amid reporters’ questions, Trump and his campaign have repeatedly offered conflicting accounts of how much money was raised and declined multiple requests to provide a full accounting.
The campaign has insisted it was working on disbursing the funds, but said it was waiting on some donors to make good on their pledges and also needed to properly vet the charities in the running to receive the funds.
“Why should I give you records?” Trump told The Washington Post in an interview earlier this month. “I don’t have to give you records.”
As reporters’ inquiries dogged Trump, the billionaire has lashed out at the media, accusing them of twisting what should be a positive story.
Three veterans groups earlier Tuesday confirmed donations from the Trump Foundation. The Bob Woodruff Foundation and the Boston Wounded Vets Run each confirmed donations of $75,000 apiece. The Racing For Heroes Foundation also received what the group’s president described as a “large” donation.
The Clinton campaign on Tuesday morning fired off a statement tweaking Trump over his accounting of the donations amid a multipronged push to counter Trump’s news conference.AlertMe