On Tuesday, Donald Trump finally made public an accounting of the $5.6 million in charitable donations to veterans groups he gave or raised during an Iowa speech in January. He also took the opportunity — at a news conference at Trump Tower (of course) — to lambaste the press for pushing him to be accountable on these donations.
"The political press is among the most dishonest I have ever met," said Trump. He added that he wasn't interested in getting attention for his donations but the press forced his hand — a process that revealed the media's fundamental corruptness.
The simple facts are these:
1. Trump said, on the night of the event, that he had raised $6 million for veterans groups. This from a CNN report of the speech:
He did it Thursday night, dazzling a crowd of hundreds of enthusiastic supporters by announcing that he had raised more than $6 million for veterans in one day — $1 million of it from his own checkbook. "We love our vets," he said.
2. Trump made the $1 million personal donation to veterans groups a week ago and only after WaPo's David Fahrenthold did a deep dive into where the promised money went. That was four months after the speech/fundraiser where Trump trumpeted that he had donated the money.
What you saw this morning at Trump Tower was the press at its best, not at its worst, as Trump said over and over again.
Here's why: Donald Trump is the Republican presidential nominee. He is one of two people — sorry, Gary Johnson! — who might be the next president of the United States. Given that, Trump has to be held accountable for the things he has done and the things he has said — both in this campaign and in the past.
If he said he raised/donated $6 million to charity for veterans group — the support of which he has put at the center of his campaign — then the media's job, LITERALLY OUR JOB, is to find out who he gave to and how much. Simply taking Trump at his word — "I'm accountable," he insisted Monday — isn't good enough.
Ask yourself this: Would you be okay with Hillary Clinton being allowed to skate with her "trust me I did the right thing" explanation (I am paraphrasing) on her email server? Would you be okay with the media simply taking her word for it that all of the emails she deleted and didn't turn over to the State Department were totally personal in nature? Or that the sole reason she set up the server was for "convenience" sake?
No, you wouldn't.
Donald Trump — or you — don't have to like the media. That's fine. But I would caution you that casting aspersions on the media for asking questions of one of the two people who will be the leader of the free world is a dangerous game.
Accountability isn't a partisan issue. Never has been. Never will be.