Republican candidate Donald Trump has planned a special event to coincide with the Thursday GOP debate from which he withdrew, according to an announcement Wednesday. In place of the debate, the GOP front-runner said he will hold a fundraiser in Des Moines, Iowa, to benefit military veterans organizations.
One problem: The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) has said it does not want the billionaire businessman's money. Paul Rieckhoff, founder and CEO of IAVA, which represents 150,000 veterans across the U.S., slammed Trump on Twitter on Wednesday, condemning the fundraiser as a calculated political move, Think Progress reported.
If offered, @IAVA will decline donations from Trump's event. We need strong policies from candidates, not to be used for political stunts.
— Paul (PJ) Rieckhoff (@PaulRieckhoff) January 27, 2016
In addition, popular blogs covering veterans’ issues have criticized Trump for presenting almost no policy proposals regarding major concerns facing the nation’s veterans, Think Progress reported. The GOP candidate had also threatened to boycott a CNN debate last month unless the network donated $5 million “to vets.” However, that turned out to be an empty threat, as that donation was never made and Trump still participated in the debate.
Trump's Thursday event is scheduled to occur at Drake University’s Sheslow Auditorium at 8 p.m. CST, according to the announcement from his campaign. He has decided to boycott Thursday night’s debate after Fox News refused to remove its anchor, Megyn Kelly — with whom Trump famously clashed at the first Republican debate in August — from moderating Thursday night’s debate. The GOP candidate stated that he would "not play games" with the news channel by attending and released a statement calling Fox News executive Roger Ailes and the channel "highly incompetent."
“Megyn Kelly’s really biased against me,” Trump said in an Instagram video posted Tuesday. “She knows that. I know that. Everybody knows that. Do you really think that she can be fair at a debate?”