Donald Trump, in an apparent warm-up for tonight’s second GOP debate, gave what was billed as a “policy” speech aboard the USS Iowa warship Tuesday evening, and the event was also supposed to be a fundraiser for a “veterans’ group.” Tickets for the event were priced between $100-1,000 per person. Considering that there were nearly 1,000 attendees, quite a bit of money was raised.
One problem, however: the group that benefitted from the ticket sales, Veterans for a Strong America, appears to be just one man who happens to live in South Dakota.
As Rachel Maddow detailed on her show last night, Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings for the group’s PAC reveal that, in addition to having only $30 cash in hand and $318 in debts, the organization’s only member is its founder, Joel Arends.
As Maddow explained:
“Donald Trump was not in the military, but he did use a pretty military backdrop tonight to raise money for a non-existent veterans’ group, which endorsed him formally as part of his introduction — and he said they have hundreds of thousands of members. And they don’t. And so the whole thing is fake.”
Tuesday’s speech came after Arends released a statement earlier this year declaring that he would be backing Trump even after he insulted Sen. John McCain’s war record. Oddly, Arends worked on McCain’s campaign in Iowa in 2007.
Maddow said it has become clear that Trump either doesn’t know about the true nature of the group, or he knows and simply decided no one would notice the lie:
“I’m sure that in that moment, Donald Trump was very grateful to have that statement of support from this group. But Veterans For A Strong America really does appear to be just one guy.”
This incident, whether or not Trump knew the reality of Veterans for a Strong America, is emblematic of Trump’s entire campaign. For months now, Trump has simply lied about anything and everything, telling people what they want to hear instead of what is actually the truth.
But the gloss is beginning to fade from the Donald. He is nothing but a huckster, a grifter, a crass opportunist who only wants one thing: His own self-aggrandizement. It was fun while it lasted, Donald, but it’s about to come crashing down all around you.
Watch Last Night’s “Rachel Maddow Show”
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.