Trump says he gave $5.6 million to veterans groups

Washington: Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he donated $5.6 million to veterans associations and criticised the members of the press, whom he said “should be ashamed of themselves” for having doubted that he would keep the promise he made in January to make the donations.

“I have never received such bad publicity for doing such a good job,” Trump said at a press conference at his offices in New York’s Trump Tower, EFE news agency reported.

“As of this moment, it’s $5.6 million,” the real estate magnate said, adding that “all of the money has been spent”.

Trump lambasted the press all during the press conference, calling political reporters “among the most dishonest people I’ve ever met”.

He also released the names of a number of organisations to which donations were made, along with the size of those contributions.

In late January, Trump made a surprise announcement in Iowa that he would not participate in a debate with other Republican candidates to hold a fundraising event to help veterans.

At the event, he said that he had managed to raise $6 million, but several media outlets said weeks later that there was no proof of any donations being made, while many associations confirmed that they had not received any such funds.

Trump also promised to put up $1 million out of his own pocket.

For months, Trump’s campaign refused to list which organisations had received the donations arguing that they were reviewing the validity and suitability of the veterans groups.

On Sunday, Trump participated in the traditional gathering of bikers in Washington to pay tribute to veterans and US war dead over Memorial Day weekend.

Trump, who avoided the draft during the Vietnam War after receiving a medical exemption, said at the gathering that illegal immigrants are treated better than America’s former soldiers.