Once upon a time, someone had the idea to tell a nice story about Donald Trump sending his personal jet to pick up some Marines that were having trouble getting home after the 1991 Gulf War and make Trump look like a totally awesome hero that just LOVES the troops. It was such a good idea that Fox News’ Sean Hannity posted it to his website back in May:
Turns out the entire story was based on the 20+ year old recollection of a Cpl. Ryan Stickney who “recalls being told” that Trump had personally sent his “private jet” to pick up stranded Marines:
Stickney says that in his 28 years of public service, he has yet to see this kind of support for the troops from any of the other candidates running for president: “I have not seen a Clinton or Sanders plane, or anything else for that matter, sent to support the troops.”
Trump loved the story so much that he had Stickney tell it at one of his rallies in Houston just a few months ago.
If this act of generosity seems out of character for Donald Trump, you’d be right. Trump doesn’t do anything generous for anyone that isn’t named “Donald Trump” and he certainly doesn’t give a crap about the troops. So, of course, the “private jet” story wasn’t true and it didn’t take a whole lot of digging to find that out after The Washington Post’s fact-checkers decided to look into it.
Via The Washington Post:
He [Stickney] even took a photo:
Our reader was suspicious because of the language “recalls being told.” That sounds more like a rumor than any confirmation.
Moreover, take a close look at the photograph. That was not Trump’s private plane at the time. That’s a Boeing 727 jet that was part of a Trump Shuttle fleet — an airline that Trump briefly owned before it was essentially seized by the banks because he failed to make payments on his loans. It had a white fuselage.
Here’s what Trump’s private plane, with a dark fuselage, looked like in 1991:
Trump’s private plane only had 24 seats, according to news reports; Trump Shuttle jets had at least 130 seats.
In reality, this plane had been under contract to ferry troops in order to free up the military’s cargo planes to move equipment instead of people. Also, by the time this plane was landing in Camp Lejeune, Trump airline was on the verge of going broke:
Trump had put the Trump Shuttle up for sale on April 27, 1990, but by September couldn’t make loan payments and needed to cut a new deal with his bankers. By the time the TOW company went off to war, Trump had not paid interest on a $235 million Citibank loan for months.
When the warriors returned from Saudi Arabia, the banks had made it clear they would determine how and when the shuttle was sold. Trump was in such financial straits that he had even agreed to sell his personal jet for $6.5 million in a bid to raise cash.
So not only did Hannity’s
propaganda mill website publish a bogus story, they kindly reminded us what a terrible businessman Donald Trump is. Good job, Sean!
But it’s not ENTIRELY Hannity’s fault since Trump’s campaign apparently confirmed the bogus story. Curiously, neither Hannity or Trump’s campaign would give the WaPo fact-checkers a comment and the article is still up on Hannity’s website. It’s almost like the truth doesn’t matter or something…
Featured image via Salon