After months of being on the defensive, Hillary Clinton thought she had found the perfect way to break Donald Trump’s connection with the voters: accuse him of lying about his multi-million dollar donation to veterans’ charities.
She went all out this week, hiring more than a dozen veterans to protest outside Trump Tower and demanding the media press Trump about whether he ever donated the proceeds of his January 28 fundraiser in Iowa to vets.
But the attack ricocheted.
The only thing it exposed is the fact that Donald Trump gave more than 50 times as much money to America’s fighting men and women in one night than Hillary Clinton did in eight years.
In fact, over the past few years Clinton apparently has given ZERO to veterans’ charities. That’s especially curious — and insulting — given that Clinton was planning a presidential run and knew that her tax records would be released.
In an unforgettable press conference on Tuesday, in between calling reporters “dishonest” and “a sleaze,” Mr. Trump had an admission to make. He had fallen just shy of the $6 million in donations to vets he had previously announced. Instead, he collected $5.6 million for America’s fighting men and women – including $1 million of his own money.
“Find out how much Hillary Clinton’s given to the veterans,” Trump challenged reporters. “Nothing.”
As it turns out, it wasn’t quite nothing – but not by much.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign told the New York Times on Wednesday she had donated a paltry $105,000 to veterans groups between 2006 and 2012. They did not document any donations since.
The Clintons are reportedly worth at least $110 million.
These funds came, not from the Clinton Foundation – which Wall Street analyst Charles Ortel called a “charity fraud” – but from the smaller Clinton Family Foundation.
That’s less than two percent of what Donald Trump donated to vets in one fundraiser.
In fact, at least nine of the grants he made to 41 veterans groups from the Iowa fundraiser exceeded the $110,000 Clinton contributed to vets over eight years.
That doesn’t include tens of thousands of dollars the Donald J. Trump Foundation has given vets in the last few years on its own.
Clearly on the defensive on CNN, Hillary told Jake Tapper that “of course” she had “given money to veterans charities,” and that she and John McCain had raised money for fallen veterans – the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund – which Mr. Trump also gave $175,000. She pointed to votes she had taken as a senator that “increased benefits to veterans and their families.”
But combat veterans have a keen sense for sizing up someone quickly deciding whether that person is friend or foe. And they know exactly where Hillary Clinton stands.
In his 1969 draft letter, Bill Clinton confessed to “loathing the military.” He cut defense spending by roughly 25 percent – while increasing the useless skirmishes and “peacekeeping actions” Americans fought in Somalia, Haiti, and Serbia, among others.
If anything, Hillary is more hawkish and more ideological than Bill.
Trump, who attended military school, said he always felt a close kinship with enlisted men. His budget proposal would give them the tools and freedom to do their job. And his foreign policy would assure they weren’t sent into harm’s way unnecessarily.
The dollar figures are just one more illustration of which candidate is really on the veterans’ side.
— The Horn editorial team