In response to Trump's event, Ted Cruz super PAC Keep the Promise countered with $1.5 million for veterans groups, so long as Trump agrees to debate the Texas Senator one-on-one before voting gets started on Monday.
Then, candidate Carly Fiorina upped the ante by offering $2 million to veterans if Trump agrees to a debate at Drake University.
Upping the ante, I'm free tomorrow at 8pm, @realDonaldTrump. My campaign will give $2mm to veterans' cause to debate at Drake U. (2/2)— Carly Fiorina (@CarlyFiorina) January 28, 2016
Many, including at least one prominent veterans group, saw these moves as cynical political ploys rather than honest efforts to do good for the nation's vets. From Paul Rieckhoff, founder and CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America:
If offered, @IAVA will decline donations from Trump's event. We need strong policies from candidates, not to be used for political stunts.— Paul (PJ) Rieckhoff (@PaulRieckhoff) January 27, 2016
Now it's Cruz yanking vets into the nastiness of the presidential fights before Iowa. This is not what vets need. https://t.co/xY9zwQX11n— Paul (PJ) Rieckhoff (@PaulRieckhoff) January 28, 2016
If folks want to support vets, $$ doesn't need to be funneled through a political campaign. Just donate directly to groups doing good work.— Paul (PJ) Rieckhoff (@PaulRieckhoff) January 28, 2016
Trump has not and likely will not agree to Cruz or Fiorina's offers. The question is whether the money will be donated anyway.
@KatiePavlich Eh, money is money.— Leigh Wolf (@LeighWolf) January 28, 2016
UPDATE: This also happened.