Politics

Trump Tried To Block Disabled Vets From Street Vending

| by Michael Allen
Donald TrumpDonald Trump

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump lashed out at an ABC News reporter during a press conference on May 31 when the question of Trump's fundraising for veterans groups came up.

Trump reportedly paid $1 million to a veteran's charity on May 23, a donation that he promised during his TV fundraiser back on Jan. 28 in Des Moines, Iowa. At the time, Trump said the fundraiser raised a total of $6 million, but that number was readjusted to at least $5.6 million during the press conference.

Trump was then questioned about this change, and he did not take it well.

"I'm not looking for credit, but what I don’t want is when I raise millions of dollars, have people say – like this sleazy guy right over here from ABC, he’s a sleaze in my book," Trump told ABC News reporter Tom Llamas, notes Mediaite.com.

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The New York Daily News previously reported that in 1991, the GOP candidate opposed disabled veterans and other street vendors peddling their goods on Fifth Avenue where Trump Tower sits in New York City.

Trump reportedly wrote a letter to John Dearie, then-chairman of the New York state Assembly’s Committee on Cities, at that time.

"While disabled veterans should be given every opportunity to earn a living, is it fair to do so to the detriment of the city as a whole or its tax paying citizens and businesses?" Trump wrote in the letter, according to the New York Daily News.

"Do we allow Fifth Ave., one of the world’s finest and most luxurious shopping districts, to be turned into an outdoor flea market, clogging and seriously downgrading the area?" Trump added.

Disabled veterans are able to obtain special vendor permits from the Department of Consumer Affairs, but when those licenses came up for renewal in 2004, Trump opposed them again.

At that time, Trump sent a letter to then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg about peddlers, some of whom Trump said were pretending to be veterans.

The Trump campaign did not issue any statements to the New York Daily News about these incidents when they were reported in 2015.

POLITICO notes that Trump's peddling fight goes back to a 19th-century law that allowed Civil War veterans to "hawk, peddle and vend any goods, wares or merchandise" in New York state.

Veterans advocates said vets are discouraged these days from getting vendor licenses in New York City's "midtown core," a special restricted zone that was created by the lobbying efforts of the Fifth Avenue Association in 1990s.

Sources: Mediaite.com, New York Daily News, POLITICO / Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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