They're willing to fight in a war zone, but there are limits to what soldiers are willing to put themselves through. Appearing onstage next to Donald Trump was just too much for a New Hampshire nonprofit to bear.
According to Keith Howard, Executive Director of veterans nonprofit Liberty House, Trump's campaign offered to give them a check for "six figures." The condition was that they had to stand onstage with him to accept it at a rally today, just one day before the primary vote.
To be fair, it sounds like they would decline a similar offer from anyone running for office. According to the state Attorney General, appearing so publicly with a candidate could possibly jeopardize their nonprofit status, since it would look like the kind of endorsement that tax-exempt groups aren't allowed to do.
But obviously, that's the point. Trump just wanted an endorsement from veterans. And surely he and the people on his team know enough about money to know that accepting the check would put the nonprofit at risk. Apparently they were willing to potentially jeopardize the existence of Liberty House in order to get a short-term endorsement.
The money's still going to the veterans, but now it'll take a more twisty path. Trump's giving it to State Representative Al Baldasaro, who supports his candidacy. Baldasaro says he'll give the money to Liberty House. We'll just have to see how it goes down.
Veterans are perhaps still a little annoyed about Trump's comments last week about how fun it is to be hit with an IED. Trying to make the point that American armored vehicles are the best in the world, Trump said, "Armor-plated, top, bottom, all over—if a bomb goes off, our wounded warriors, instead of losing their legs, their arms, worse, they're okay. They go for a little ride upward, and they come down."
Sure, they come down. Sometimes with permanent hearing loss, sometimes with brain injuries, sometimes thrown from the vehicle, sometimes pierced by shrapnel, sometimes with organs collapsed by the shockwave.
Can't imagine why veterans might not want to appear onstage with Donald.
It must be a little baffling to him that he might not be able to control someone with money, which is maybe why he's striking a somewhat humbler tone in New Hampshire lately.
"I don't get along that well with the rich. I don't even like the rich people very much," he told a crowd.
I definitely trust this man.