It was bad enough that Sean Hannity helped promote Donald Trump’s lie after lie after lie about his donations to veteran charities and his decision to back out of the Bernie Sanders debate. But then Hannity had the nerve to complain that “journalism is dead” because other media have been calling out Trump’s dishonesty.
I laid out the details yesterday of Trump’s promised but undelivered donations to veterans’ charities. The shorter version is that the press started looking into why there was no evidence charities had received any of the $6 million Trump claimed to have raised (and his campaign manager said had been given out) from a fundraiser Trump held in January, in lieu of participating in the Fox News debate. Lo and behold, the donations began showing up after an article in The Washington Post highlighted the issue. In a press conference yesterday, “presidential” Trump threw a bullyboy temper tantrum because the press made him “look very bad.”
But Hannity was gleeful that Trump tried to intimidate a press that was doing its job. “Donald Trump is fighting back against liberal media attacks about how much money that he has raised and donated to veterans charity groups.”
He admiringly played a clip of Trump promising more of the same if he gets elected:
TRUMP: If the press writes false stories, like they did with this because, you know, probably half of you are amazed that I raised all of this money. If the press writes false stories like they did where I wanted to keep a low profile – I didn’t want the credit for raising all this money for the vets. I wasn’t looking for the credit. And, by the way, more money is coming in. I wasn’t looking for the credit. But I had no choice but to do this because the press was saying I didn’t raise any money for them.
Fact check: Trump took credit from the get-go:
Yet Mr. Trump had announced his fund-raising for veterans on national television in January and had trumpeted it several times since, a reporter countered. Wasn’t that taking credit?
“I don’t think so,” Mr. Trump replied tersely, quickly taking another question.
Trump also told Hannity, “I took zero, in terms of administrative costs. Some of these people, they raise a million dollars and they take $950,000 for administration.”
Fact check: One of the charities Trump claimed to have vetted, The Foundation for American Veterans, received an F from CharityWatch for spending less than half its donations on programs that help veterans. Trump donated $75,000 to that group.
Trump now told Hannity, “I gave all the groups, they’re great groups.”
Hannity sneered, “I watch this and I’m thinking, what do they think, you need the money? Do they think you’re gonna steal it? You were going through the process of vetting these groups which, by the way, is the responsible thing to do, right?”
Trump dubiously claimed that “most” or “a lot” of the money was distributed “very early” because he knew the groups “or something.”
Fact check: About half the charities AP was able to contact reported that their checks had arrived in the last week, typically on May 24, the day The Washington Post story came out.
As Hannity deliberately worked to undermine journalism, he now boasted, “I said in 2008, journalism’s dead. You’re confronting this bias, institutional bias and they don’t seem to like it. You think this is the whole campaign?”
Later, Hannity joined the Fox effort to help spin Trump’s decision to back out of a debate with Bernie Sanders. Trump’s flip-flop also sparked much ridicule which, of course, Hannity didn’t mention. Trump gave this bogus explanation:
TRUMP: I wanted to do it for a lot of money and I would have done it for, in this case, women’s health issues and the networks weren’t going to put up the money and it wouldn’t have been worthwhile to do it. And frankly, I’d like to debate him. I’d love it but they were supposed to put up money and they weren’t coming through and I’m not gonna do it for nothing. Why should I?
Fact check: A technology investment company offered the $10 million Trump said he wanted in order to do the debate.
Watch it above, from the May 31 Hannity.
Crossposted at Newshounds.us