Baldasaro Jumps to Trump's Defense Over Veterans Donations

May 31, 2016

Credit C-SPAN

Followers of New Hampshire politics might’ve noticed a familiar face (and voice) at Donald Trump’s much-hyped press conference on Tuesday morning: Al Baldasaro, a state representative from Londonderry who Trump has referred to at varying times as “The King” and his “favorite vet.”

Baldasaro has been a loyal and vocal Trump supporter, stumping for him in the Granite State and subbing in occasionally as a surrogate on network news interviews. The Guardian, for one, described Baldasaro as “Trump’s biggest fan” in a profile published shortly after the New Hampshire primary.

On Tuesday, Baldasaro was at the presidential candidate’s side for most of the press conference, with the exception of the few minutes when he himself jumped in to come to Trump’s defense and to chastise the “liberal media” for questioning whether Trump had really donated to veterans’ charities as he said he would.

As reported by NPR, Trump faced a flurry of questions over a months-old claim that he had raised $6 million for veterans charities. (See here for more background on that issue.)

At one point during the press conference, Trump beckoned to Baldasaro when pressed about whether veterans really could believe he made the donations.

“I’ve been involved with many fundraisers,” said Baldasaro, who added that he’s the former chairman of one of the groups benefiting from Trump’s donations. “There are many scam artists out there. He did the right thing by vetting these groups.”

Instead of focusing on the donations, Baldasaro implored the press to focus instead on other issues.

“Donald Trump is doing this for the heart,” Baldasaro said. “You’re all focused on the way he’s raising money, and you’re not looking at the 22 veterans that are killing each other every day.You’re not concerned about the thousands of veterans that are on wait lists.”

Trump, after Baldasaro wrapped up, suggested that he did not in fact invite Baldasaro to the presser. Instead, Trump said, “He showed up this morning because he was upset.”

You can watch Baldasaro’s full cameo at the press conference below, via C-SPAN.