At least one veteran’s group doesn’t want any donations from Donald Trump’s fundraiser for veterans.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America founder Paul Rieckhoff tweeted Wednesday that he would decline any contributions that came from the event, which Trump has proposed in place of his attending Fox News’ debate this week.
“If offered, @IAVA will decline donations from Trump’s event. We need strong policies from candidates, not to be used for political stunts,” he said.
Trump stunned the political establishment Tuesday by pulling out of Fox News’ GOP debate on Thursday. The debate is being moderated by Trump nemesis Megyn Kelly, with whom he tangled in a Fox debate in August.
Instead, Trump said he would hold a competing event to raise money for veterans and wounded warriors, “who have been treated so horribly by our all-talk, no-action politicians,” according to a statement by his campaign. The event on Thursday, hosted at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, will start with a pre-program at 8 p.m. ET, and the main event will start at 9 p.m. ET.
Two other veterans’ groups also distanced themselves from Trump’s announcement.
The Wounded Warrior Project said it was not aware of the candidate conducting any fundraising efforts on its behalf.
Meanwhile, VoteVets.org, which calls itself the nation’s largest progressive veterans group, issued a statement titled: “Don’t hide from Megyn Kelly behind us.”
Trump has tried to tie fundraising for veterans with debates in the past. He said he had considered skipping CNN debates in September and December unless the network donated to veterans’ groups.
Rieckhoff did say that supporters are welcome to contribute to his group directly.