Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump took a combative tone with the press on Tuesday, calling one ABC News reporter a "sleaze" and another journalist "a real beauty" during a press conference at Trump Tower meant to discuss donations he made to veterans' groups. And if he were to win the election, Trump said the press could expect to receive similar treatment from him at the White House. "I have never received such bad publicity for doing such a good job," Trump said. Reporters had asked him to release a list of names of organizations he had donated to after hosting a fundraiser in January while simultaneously boycotting a FOX News debate. Trump had originally said he had raised $6 million, but on Tuesday, said $5.6 million had been raised, and much of it had been disbursed. Trump proceeded to read a list of organizations he said had received funds.
"Are you ready? Do you have your pen?" he mockingly asked the reporter who had questioned him. "You know, my opinion of the media is very low. I think the media is frankly made up of people — in many cases, not in all cases — who are not good people. And this is an example." ABC News reporter Tom Llamas later questioned why Trump had said he had raised $6 million when the figure was actually lower. Trump said he had made a personal donation of $1 million. "Mr. Trump, writing a million-dollar check is incredibly generous, but the night of that Iowa fundraiser, you said you had raised $6 million. Clearly you had not. Your critics say you tend to exaggerate, not follow through — is this a prime example?" Llamas asked. "No, I raised almost $6 million. Some of it didn't come through, but more money is coming through than didn't come through. The number is probably going to be, when we finish it, over the $6 million," Trump responded.
I'm a woman, I'm a Latina, and I'm a veteran, and he has hit negatively on every single one of those things — and then some.
Mickiela Montoya, Army veteran
He later came back to Llamas. "I'm not looking for credit. But what I don't want is, when I raise millions of dollars, [to] have people say… Like this sleazy guy right over here from ABC, he's a sleaze," Trump said. "Why am I sleaze?" Llamas asked. "You're a sleaze because you know the facts, and you know the facts well," Trump said before turning the podium over to Marine Corps veteran and New Hampshire state Rep. Al Baldasaro. Llamas declined to be interviewed for this story, but in a statement, ABC News wrote: "Tom is one of the best journalists in the country. He is also one of the most respectful and respected."
Outside, veterans protested against Trump. He dismissed the protesters as having been paid by Hillary Clinton to show up, a charge they denied. "I see a few guys standing out there, they don't even know what they're there for. They're there because Hillary Clinton's campaign sent them," Trump said. Army veteran Mickiela Montoya, who said she served for eight years and was deployed to Iraq from 2004 to 2005, told Refinery29 that Trump's accusation gave her "goose bumps." "I'm a woman, I'm a Latina, and I'm a veteran, and he has hit negatively on every single one of those things — and then some," Montoya told Refinery29 while protesting outside the press conference. "I'm here today, not only as a moral obligation, but also as a matter of national security. Donald Trump as commander in chief is only going to continue to make people hate, and to divide."
I think the media is frankly made up of people — in many cases, not in all cases — who are not good people.
In Refinery29/ABC News' joint Vote Your Values poll, 63% of the more-than-500 millennial women surveyed said they were afraid of Trump. But outside Trump Tower, a few female tourists said he had their support. Rena Parcher, a Trump supporter from Oklahoma, came to shop in Trump's new store, but stopped by to see if she could catch a glimpse of him. She said Trump's previous statements about women didn't bother her. "I just feel a lot of it is for publicity, and if I knew him as a person, I would probably feel differently. I think he's a good person, but I have just heard this hearsay about what he has said about other women," Parcher told Refinery29.
Claire Fuller, a tourist from Cambridge, England, said she supports Trump because his "message is correct, but sometimes the delivery is a bit lost." "We haven't got any great leaders in the U.K. at the moment, and that's why this is so interesting. We've got no big personalities," Fuller said. She added that Trump's statements about women didn't bother her, either. "I believe in women's rights, but I think the feminist movement has almost gone too far, certainly in the U.K. it has, in some instances," she said. But Michael Nwokolo, a taxi driver from Nigeria who has lived in the U.S. for 15 years, said Trump's message isn't one that should be exported. "This is what the presidency has become. People saying this kind of stuff and they're still winning in the polls — it just goes to show you what kind of country we live in. All this negative energy, and the guy is still winning," Nwokolo told Refinery29. "America is a very diverse country, it's a place of opportunity, and I feel that with those things that he says, it kind of kills the diversity. It takes away what America stands for," Nwokolo added.