A press conference called by Donald Trump to discuss his donations to veterans’ groups devolved into a lengthy bout of bickering between the presumptive Republican presidential nominee and members of the press over media treatment of his campaign.
While Trump has fought with the press throughout the campaign, repeatedly impugning individual reporters and banning many outlets, including Mother Jones, from his rallies, the press conference at Trump Tower on Tuesday was one of the sharpest clashes yet, as Trump insulted reporters to their faces and several journalists attempted to fight back. He again called the press corps “dishonest” and potentially libelous before singling out ABC’s Tom Llamas as a “sleaze” and mocking the looks of CNN reporter Jim Acosta. Reporters at the event returned fire, arguing with Trump that he seemed to be trying to dodge scrutiny of his donations and mistook questions for criticism. “Is this what it is going to be like covering you if you are president?” one exasperated reporter asked.
In January, Trump pledged to donate $1 million to unnamed veterans’ organizations. But that donation appeared not to have been made until after the Washington Post started asking questions about the money last week, prompting Trump to give $1 million to the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation. (Trump responded to that story by calling the reporter “a nasty guy.”) At Tuesday’s press conference, Trump came prepared with a long list of organizations he said received a total of $5.6 million thanks to a fundraising event he held in January.
Trump also continued his attacks on Judge Gonzalo Curiel, a federal judge in California who has ordered documents unsealed in a lawsuit against Trump University, a school that charged students as much as $35,000 for real estate courses that promised Trump-like success and wealth. The lawsuit alleges that the school defrauded its students. Trump called Curiel an “unfair judge” on Tuesday after having attacked him on Friday as a “Trump hater” and bringing up his Latino heritage as a reason for his alleged anti-Trump bias. The documents are due to be released today.