Sean Hannity isn’t a journalist. We all know this already. However, even if you only play one on TV, being correct and not telling lies is in your own self-interest. Sean didn’t seem to get the memo on that.
Hannity ran a story on his website, May 19th, 2016, about how Donald Trump rescued a group of marines who came home from the gulf war only to be stranded in North Carolina, far from their homes in Miami Florida.
To quote the article:
“The Trump campaign has confirmed to Hannity.com that Mr. Trump did indeed send his plane to make two trips from North Carolina to Miami, Florida to transport over 200 Gulf War Marines back home.”
Remember that part about Trump himself sending his personal jet. It’ll be important soon.
What a great story, right? Trump personally saved the day for these poor soldiers. Too bad the entire story is BS.
209 officers of the TOW company, part of the 8th Tank Battallion, were deployed on Nov 26th, 1990. They arrived in Saudi Arabia on Dec 22nd and served through the end of March 1991 before being returned to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
After being at Lejeune for a few weeks, the soldiers were scheduled to return to Broward County, Florida. Local news reported that their trip home, which was supposed to be on April 22nd, was “marred by flight delays” forcing them to wait for several hours.
Hannity.com reported that Corporal Ryan Stickney, who was a squad leader in the unit, was told that Donald Trump found out about the flight delay and personally sent his own aircraft down to take them home.
Stickney took the following photo, which Hannity boasted about in the story:
Here’s the problem. That isn’t Donald Trump’s personal jet.
This is what Donald Trump’s personal jet looked like in 1991, when he supposedly rescued these soldiers from exile in North Carolina
One of these things … is not like the other …
But wait, there’s even more embarrassing stuff about this for Trump.
The plane pictured by Hannity is one from the Trump Shuttle fleet, which was an airline that Trump briefly owned before it was seized by banks because he failed to make payments on his loans. The Trump shuttle fleet had a white fuselage, just like in the Hannity picture.
Trump had put the Trump Shuttle up for sale in Aprill of 1990, but by September of that year he couldn’t make the loan payments and had to figure out how to satisfy bankers who wanted their money. Trump was months behind on a $235 million Citibank loan at the time.
When Trump bought the shuttle fleet from Eastern Airlines, he made a terrible business deal. He accepted five additional planes he didn’t actually need, instead of paying a lower purchase price for only the amount required. This left him with planes sitting in hangars not making money.
In an effort to do something productive with his terrible business deal, some of the extras were contracted out to the U.S. military to ferry personnel around the country during Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield in 1990 and 1991.
Lieutenant General Vernon Kondra was in charge of all military airlift operations at the time. He checked his records for fact-checking purposes and confirmed this was the case. He said that the notion Donald Trump personally arranged to help these soldiers was utter hogwash.
“I certainly was not aware of that. It does not sound reasonable that it would happen like that. It would not fit in with how we did business. I don’t even know of how he would have known there was a need.”
The real story here is that the Trump Shuttle, which was contracted out to the military, was used to take the troops from North Carolina to Florida. Trump didn’t send his personal jet. He had nothing to do with it. He wasn’t even aware that it was happening because these planes were not under his direction at the time. It would have been impossible for Trump personally to have directed the military on what to do with the planes they were essentially renting from Trump. The likelihood that the U.S. military would have even accepted Trump’s phone call is absolute zero, and the likelihood that they’d have taken orders from him personally is less than that.
Corporal Stickney was contacted for comment regarding the newly found information, but he declined to do so after learning the results of the inquiry. To be fair, the guy saw a Trump logo and probably made an honest mistake. Hannity, and Donald himself, did not make an honest mistake, though.