Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump said Tuesday the blowback he has received after raising millions for military veterans earlier this year has exposed an ugly side of politics and the media.
“We raised all of this money and then you get bad press, and I am the only one that could get bad press with raising that kind of money,” Mr. Trump said at a rally in New Mexico, pushing back against news reports questioning the amount of money that he raised at his January fundraiser in Iowa and how much has since been distributed.
“So the system is against me and you know what, it has been from the beginning — but I love it because there is nothing better than beating the system,” he said.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the Trump camp has sent mixed signals about how much money had been raised at the event earlier this year. It also reported that the New York businessman finally followed through on his promise to donate $1 million to veterans four months after vowing to do so, and after being badgered by media outlets.
Speaking in Albuquerque, Mr. Trump said he raised between $5.5 to $5.7 million for veterans, and said groups had to be vetted before the money was doled out.
He described the media as “dishonest slime” and said “I didn’t have to raise 10 cents.”
Outside the arena, hundreds of anti-Trump protesters rushed police barricades, breaking through them in some cases, and pelted Trump supporters with insults and water bottles, according to reporters and live footage from the scene.
After the speech, things got more violent as protesters lit fires and pelted police with rocks, prompting officers clad in riot gear to reply with smoke bombs and pepper spray.
Some opponents were able to get inside the arena, holding up signs accusing Mr. Trump of being a “fascist” and repeatedly interrupted the presumed Republican presidential nominee’s speech.
Mr. Trump told security to remove the protesters, some of whom resisted, and mocked them personally, telling one to “go home to Mommy” and saying another was “still wearing diapers.”