George W. Bush is facing harsh criticism after he charged $100,000 to give a speech to a group of wounded veterans, a majority of which were injured in the two wars that Bush started while holding office. The criticism that Bush is facing comes at a time when there is much discussion about members from both parties and the money they make from public speeches.
In a report by ABC News members of the Helping a Hero, a Texas-based charity, admitted that it cost them $100,000 to have Bush speak back in 2012. The speech was made to a group of veterans who had lost limbs in the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan. It doesn’t help Bush’s situation to know that he spent $20,000 to make it to the event. In addition, former First Lady Laura Bush charged $50,000 to speak to the same group the year prior.
A Marine wounded in the war, Eddie Wright, commented on the fees from Bush, "The point here is that a leader should not charge to speak on behalf of the men that he sent into combat, at any level, let alone the commander in chief.” One board member made a statement to CNN saying that Bush should have denied the payment.
The Helping a Hero charity was involved in a lawsuit that was eventually settled out of court. The Texas charity reportedly was coercing veteran’s wives into selling beauty products as well as illegally siphoning money from the charity.
Despite negative attention from the press, leading members of Helping a Hero have come forth to support former President Bush for his speech. This speech alone helped the charity make over $3 million. Previous speeches in the past featuring Bush have been just as lucrative for the charity.
In a comment at the U.S. Chambers of Commerce event, Bush made a statement about dedicating the rest of his life to support the veterans and the problems they face when returning home from battle.