NEW YORK (AP) — Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump is asking CNN to donate to veterans the proceeds from advertising sold to air during next week's Republican debate.
In a Tuesday letter to the cable news network, the billionaire says he's the reason the network sharply increased its rates ahead of the Sept. 16 debate in Simi Valley, California. Trade publications have reported that CNN is asking for up to $200,000 for a 30-second ad, and that typical rates run as low as $5,000.
Trump writes that the spike in viewer interest "is due 100 percent to Donald J. Trump." CNN should view debate coverage as a public service and give up profits, he said.
The network had no immediate comment, according to a CNN spokeswoman.
Trump angered some veterans in July when he mocked Arizona Sen. John McCain, the GOP's 2008 nominee and a former prisoner of war in Vietnam.
CNN's ad rates for the debate shot up because of the extraordinary interest paid to the first debate last month. Televised on Fox News Channel, the 24 million people who tuned in represented that network's biggest-ever audience by far.