June 1, 2016

In a press conference on Tuesday, Donald Trump took umbrage at reporters asking him to account for the $6 million he said he raised for veterans charities back in January, resorting to name-calling and other invectives when reporters questioned his attitude to being questioned. "Instead of being like, 'Thank you very much, Mr. Trump,' or 'Trump did a good job,' everyone's saying: 'Who got it? Who got it? Who got it?'" Trump groused. "I have never received such bad publicity for doing such a good job."

Trump read off 41 organizations that had received $5.6 million from his January fundraiser, including $1 million of his own money. "Most of the money went out quite a while ago," Trump said on Tuesday. "Some of it went out more recently. But all of this has gone out." The Associated Press called each of the 41 organizations, 30 responded, and about half said they only got checks from Trump last week, with the biggest batch going out on or around May 24 — the same day Trump finally spoke with The Washington Post, which had been publicly digging around to account for his donations. Trump's $1 million check went out May 24, too

Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said the timing was coincidental. "Mr. Trump's team worked very hard to complete this lengthy process prior to Memorial Day weekend," she said. Trump's likely Democratic presidential rival, Hillary Clinton, saw things differently. "The problem here is the difference between what Donald Trump says and what Donald Trump does," she said. "He's bragged for months about raising $6 million for vets and donating $1 million himself, but it took a reporter to shame him into actually making the contribution." That's one way to raise questions about Trump's judgment for cutting checks on the same day he was nailed by reporters for failing to fulfill a public promise. Here's another:

On the other hand, Trump's only been running for president for a year. Peter Weber

May 20, 2016

Donald Trump did New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie a favor on Thursday night, but it came with a price tag. "So you know Chris paid off his entire campaign debt tonight?" Trump asked at a fundraiser for his onetime presidential rival and current ally. The cost for entry was $200 apiece, and the cost for Christie was a little bit of public ribbing over his waistline. Trump was doing his riff about Nabisco and other companies who outsource jobs, when he added: "I'm not eating Oreos anymore, you know that — but neither is Chris. You're not eating Oreos anymore. No more Oreos. For either of us, Chris. Don't feel bad." CNN said the crowd "awkwardly laughed," but you can judge for yourself in the video below. Peter Weber

April 19, 2016

In 1981, Donald Trump bought two adjacent buildings on Central Park South for $13 million, and a few years later, he tried to evict the tenants of one of the buildings, 100 Central Park South (now called Trump Parc East). That's partly because he wanted to replace the two buildings with luxury high-rise condos, but also because most of his tenants were paying ridiculously low rent in the rent-controlled building, The New York Times reports, focusing on Madelyn Rubinstein, whose rent was $93.08 a month — the same amount her grandmother had paid since 1967.

The tenants fought Trump's attempts to evict them. They hired a lawyer, David Rozenholc, and sued Trump. After a long and public battle, Trump agreed in 1986 to let the buildings stand and the tenants keep their existing rents. In the late '90s, he turned Trump Parc East into condos, but let renters stay, and some are still paying less than $1,000 a month for a one-bedroom.

For some reason, Trump still calls his effort a success. "It was a long battle, but it was a successful battle," he told The Times. "As usual, I came out on top."

Read more about the battle, and the crazy, unfair world of New York rent, at The New York Times. Peter Weber

March 11, 2016

On Friday, Breitbart News said it stood by the account of reporter Michelle Fields, who said she was roughed up while trying to ask Donald Trump a question at his victory rally on Tuesday, with a Washington Post reporter identifying her assailant as Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski (pictured). Fields has also filed a formal report with the police. On Thursday, Trump had said he believed Fields "made the story up," despite there being audio of the encounter, an eyewitness (and on-the-record) account, and bruises on Fields' arm.

But Trump and his campaign aren't the only skeptics — Breitbart reporter Patrick Howley tweeted (then deleted) his own doubts about Fields' assault, echoing the Trump line that if there isn't video, it didn't happen. On Thursday afternoon, Breitbart said Howley's "comments were inappropriate" and senior management "has decided to suspend him indefinitely effective immediately." Lewandowski, Breitbart News CEO Larry Solov said, "must accept responsibility for his actions and apologize."

Washington Post media critic Ben Wemple said the Trump campaign's refusal to acknowledge the incident is "hardly surprising," given that "for nine months or so, the Trump campaign has been bullying the media, trashing the media, and threatening to make it easier to sue the media." He added that Howley, while working for The Daily Caller, has "distinguished himself with some choice misogynistic commentary," much of which "isn’t even repeatable on the website of a family newspaper without editing." Breitbart has been generally supportive of Trump.

On Friday, Lewandowski did not address the allegations from Fields, but he did address the rowdiness (and sometimes outright violence) of Trump supporters. "I think Mr. Trump's people are very, very passionate and they're angry because of the way that this country has been taken advantage of from so many other countries," he said. "What we want is to have the opportunity to bring Mr. Trump's message to everyone in a respectful manner." Peter Weber

February 5, 2016

Some people might consider it ludicrous that Donald Trump has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, Jimmy Kimmel said on Thursday's Kimmel Live, "but he seems excited about it. I mean, he might be the first person ever to campaign for Nobel Prize consideration." That's the setup for a presidential campaign–style ad that Team Kimmel created, with a spot-on Trump impersonator narrating a remarkably Trump-sounding ad touting his love of peace (and trash-talking rival nominee Pope Francis). "This Nobel season, it's time to honor the most peaceful person in the world, and maybe history," Kimmel's Trump says. "There's no one more peaceful than me." Watch the ad, and its surprise ending, below. Peter Weber

December 15, 2015

What do you do if you're famous and you run into Donald Trump but you don't like his politics? Tina Fey was on The Tonight Show on Monday, and she had one answer: You act like a hypocrite. Fey said she was tricked into going to watch the taping of Adele's Christmas special at Radio City Music Hall, and when she was shown to her seat, it was right in front of Trump's.

"And I was, like, the biggest hypocrite of all time, because like many people — like 51 percent of America — I watch him on the news and I'm, like, 'Come on, this guy!" she said. But when she was face-to-face with him, she added, "I was, like, 'Hi, how are you?'" She had an excuse. "We had the same baby nurse," Fey said, explaining the position as "when you first have a baby and a lady comes and helps you take care of it. We had the same baby nurse, so I was thinking, like, 'I can't get in a feud with Donald Trump, because the baby nurse will be mad at me.'" Amy Poehler, sitting next to Fey, didn't have the same excuse, but she didn't need it. Watch below. Peter Weber

December 9, 2015

A new USA Today/Suffolk University poll, combined with Donald Trump's increasingly out-of-the-mainstream proposals, have increased Republican concerns about their presidential frontrunner and fueled speculation about Trump ditching the party and running as an independent. Fanning that speculation is one Donald J. Trump:

Trump also raised the possibility of running a third-party campaign to The Wall Street Journal in late November, complaining that he's not being "treated fairly" by the GOP establishment. A third-party run by Trump would probably result in a Democratic victory next November, but Doug Mataconis offers some reassurance to Republicans and advice for journalists:

It's not as clear-cut as Mataconis suggests. Most states do have "sore loser" laws that prevent candidates who run for one party's nomination to switch to another party when they lose — 47 states, law professor Michael Kang tells CNN. But most of those laws apply to congressional races, and presidential candidates are often exempt. Still, Ohio has already ruled Trump irrevocably a Republican candidate for the presidency, and Trump would likely be prevented from running as a third-party candidate under Michigan's "sore loser" law. Trump could theoretically win without Ohio and Michigan, but if he tries, it's hard to imagine him acting as anything other than a spoiler. Or, legally, a "sore loser." Peter Weber

October 23, 2015

While most of the political world was watching Hillary Clinton square off against House Republicans over Benghazi for 11 hours on Thursday, Donald Trump apologized. Well, he didn't really apologize on his own behalf:

What retweet could be so offensive as to merit a team mea culpa from the apology-averse Republican presidential frontrunner? Apparently, Trump's... intern didn't like a new poll showing that Ben Carson had pulled ahead of him in Iowa:

Of course, the internet never forgets — and blaming the intern seems kind of a cheap dodge, as Trump should already know. But Nazi troops in the corner of a campaign graphic is one thing — nobody thinks Trump puts together his own campaign art. Retweeting from the official Trump account is another, and not everybody's buying that Trump is giving a lowly staffer the keys to his primary mode of communication with voters:

In any case, what we've all learned here is that Donald Trump may not be afraid of Vladimir Putin, Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton, or his creditors, but insulting Iowa voters is a bridge too far, even for him. Peter Weber

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