Taking a break from calling reporters sleazy and dishonest—prompted by last week’s Washington Post investigation into funds he claimed to have raised for veterans’ groups—Donald Trump was asked Tuesday to address the weekend’s biggest story: The summary execution of Harambe, a gorilla, in Cincinnati.
“It was a very tough call,” Trump said. “I don’t think they had a choice.” However: “There were moments, it was almost like a mother holding a baby—beautiful and calm.” Trump also said that he had “no choice” but to hold a press conference at which he enumerated his contributions to veterans’ groups.
I just asked Trump about Harambe the gorilla. He clearly thought about this issue extensively. Says zoo likely made right choice.— Hunter Walker (@hunterw) May 31, 2016
“I wasn’t looking for credit,” the presumptive Republican nominee claimed, somewhat improbably. “I had no choice.”
In January, at a fundraiser in Des Moines, Iowa, Trump claimed to have raised $6 million, including $1 million of his own money. “We just cracked $6 million, right? Six million,” he said. “Donald Trump gave $1 million.”
Last week, however, Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, said that Trump had only raised about $4.5 million. It also took him four months to write the $1 million check. “The money is fully spent,” Lewandowski told the Post. “Mr. Trump’s money is fully spent.”
In the same interview, Trump said the fundraiser had raised about $5.5 million for veterans overall. He said he was not sure how much of it remained to be given away.
That also contrasted with the account last week from Lewandowski, who said that about $4.5 million had been raised and that Trump’s effort had fallen short of the promised $6 million because some unnamed big donors had backed out.
On Tuesday, Trump said no major contributors had reneged. “For the most part, I think they all came through,” he said. “Some of them came through very late.”
Trump also said he had never actually promised that the fundraiser had raised $6 million. “I didn’t say six,” he said.
In fact, as video of the event shows, he did. In any case, the Trump campaign released the list of organizations that had received donations stemming from the January fundraiser on Tuesday. The total amount raised was $5.6 million, including the $1.1 million check from Trump himself.
The best evidence that Trump isn't rich, more than not releasing his tax returns, is that he didn't just donate more to vets to get to $6 m.— Olivia Nuzzi (@Olivianuzzi) May 31, 2016