Donald Trump on Tuesday blasted news reports about his fundraising activities for veterans groups, saying an effort he launched in January has raised millions of dollars for them.
Trump said 5.6 million dollars of the 6 million dollars he set out to raise had been pledged. He personally donated 1 million dollars of that total, and "more is coming in," he said.
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee blasted reporters, referring to one as "sleazy" and saying questions about the fundraising efforts had been raised by reporters who "are not good people."
Speaking at a news conference at Trump Tower in New York City, Trump said: "I find the press to be extremely dishonest; I find the political press unbelievably dishonest."
Trump has insulted the news media on many occasions in the past, but his tone on Tuesday was especially sharp, and he said if he were elected president his combativeness would continue.
He said he wanted to do the fundraising "out of the goodness of my heart," not for publicity, but in fact the launch of the fundraising effort actually was very public. He kicked it off on the same night as a presidential debate that he declined to participate in.
Trump acknowledged that some of the money pledged had not come through, but said the final total would likely exceed 6 million dollars.
He added that veterans groups that are benefiting from the fundraising are furious over media reports questioning the charity efforts.
"On behalf of the vets the press should be ashamed of itself," Trump said.
Trump enlisted several veterans to stand with him at the news conference and defend the fundraising efforts.
Front-runner Hillary Clinton said on CNN that Trump's scornful tone demonstrated "that insulting and attacking is his mode of operation, and I just don't think that is going to cut it if you actually want to produce results with the American people."
Clinton said Trump "bragged for months" about raising money for veterans, "but it took a reporter to shame him into actually making his contribution."
US Representative Chris Collins, a Republican from New York, said Trump's lashing out at the media wouldn't hurt him with voters. They believe it's about time a candidate pointed out media bias using words that are "anything but political speak," Collins said.
"Donald will be Donald," Collins, a Trump supporter, told CNN. "It's not impacting his popularity at all."