Trump to CNN: Give Second Debate’s ‘Massive Profits’ to Veterans


Unofficial Sharpie endorser Donald Trump, whose love for the thick, black ink of illegible writing knows no bounds, decided to grace the Internet with his correspondence skills on Wednesday when he shared a letter he’d sent to CNN President Jeff Zucker on Twitter.

The letter is a more formal version of a tweet Trump sent out over the Labor Day Weekend, claiming responsibility for the network’s announced increase in advertising rates:

While I refuse to brag, and as you know very well, this tremendous increase in viewer interest and advertising is due 100% to “Donald J. Trump.” You saw it on The Apprentice where it was virtually the easiest show to sell to advertisers on television, and at extraordinary rates.

The GOP presidential candidate goes on to credit himself for the increase in the letter, but he also uses the spotlight to encourage Zucker and CNN to use the additional funds for something other than profit:

You should view the second debate broadcast as a public service and not accept the massive profits that this airing will generate. I believe that all the profits from this broadcast should go to various VETERANS groups, a list of which I will send to you in the near future.

Needless to say, there are three tweets that sum up the general reaction to Trump’s latest boast. The first is from CNN’s Brian Stelter, who offered the comment of “no comment” from the network:

The second is from POLITICO’s Dylan Byers, which is self-explanatory:

And the third? Nothing too serious — just the first, and most appropriate, tweeted response to Trump’s grandstanding.

Early last month, our own columnist Joe Concha floated the idea of the cable networks giving some of their debate airtime to highlight various charitable organizations. Read that column here.

UPDATE–12:06 p.m. ET: Still no official comment from CNN, but Stelter covered Trump’s letter for CNN Money.

“There is no precedent for the kind of financial transaction Trump is suggesting,” says Stelter, who adds that the New York real estate mogul mentioned an early form of the idea in his TIME profile.

Trump then boasted he could refuse to show up at the CNN debate “unless you give $10 million to cancer, to this, to that. You pick 10 great charities, $1 million per.” He even floated the idea of candidates being paid for interviews.

Yet as Stelter explains, networks “generally do not pay for interviews or debate participation.”

“Any payment from a media company to a candidate (or on behalf of a candidate) would raise all sorts of red flags, from basic journalistic questions about fairness to legal questions about political donations.”

[Image via screengrab/Twitter]

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