Trump and the Republican Party Are Fighting Over the Same Piles of Money
Who among us hasn’t signed up for a free trial intending to cancel before being charged, only to face the financial consequences of forgetting about it for weeks? What if these inattentive spenders, slowly bleeding money, never knew they had subscribed in the first place? This, in effect, was Donald Trump’s strategy to rack up massive fundraising numbers in 2020, according to a New York Times report published last weekend. And if the dollar amounts are any gauge, it worked pretty damn well. (In response, a Twitter-less Trump released a statement calling the Times story “highly partisan” and “completely misleading,” and insisted that fundraising was “all done legally.”)
With his box-checking con revealed, however, the president has reverted to other means to raise money now that he’s out of office. On Wednesday, Trump relaunched his full-court fundraising press, reportedly hoping to expand his reach ahead of the 2024 cycle. The effort will seemingly be anchored by his online store, which launched with “Make America Great Again” hats, front door welcome mats that read, “Don’t Blame This Family We Voted for Trump,” and Trump-branded flags and yard signs for the real Trump-heads.
The store’s rollout was promoted via an email and a text blast announcing, “We released our official SAVE AMERICA gear & I’m giving YOU EARLY-ACCESS.” (Three months ago the e-commerce platform Shopify chose to stop hosting two of Trump’s merchandise websites in response to the January 6 attack on the Capitol building by Trump supporters––many of whom wore campaign gear when they stormed the halls of Congress.) Money earned through sales will reportedly go to Trump’s Save America PAC, an organization that the former president can utilize to keep up appearances and expand his reach in the midterm elections and beyond. The Save America PAC is said to currently have a war chest of about $85 million. “I expect former president Trump to remain a force in small-dollar fundraising,” Tim Cameron, a GOP strategist, told Politico.
Trump’s fundraising relaunch comes shortly after his former campaign manager Brad Parscale created the Trump-aligned American Greatness PAC. In February another ex-campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, was reportedly called on to form a PAC as well. Both groups would aim to support those carrying out the former president’s agenda and continue his influence into the midterms.
Presumably, these efforts will involve luring traditional Republican donors. With Trump eating up cash in pursuit of his own interests, McClatchy reports that Republican officials are worried he will cut into the party’s crucial fundraising sources. This divergence in interests—Trump’s focus on spending to boost his own brand while the GOP aspires to retake Congress—will come to a head this weekend at an RNC donor function in Palm Beach, Florida. The former president, whose Mar-a-Lago resort is one of the venues hosting the event, is slated to address attendees at the retreat. “I readily acknowledge the former president will continue to have a strong fundraising base for himself,” Bill Palatucci, an RNC member from New Jersey, told McClatchy. “It remains to be seen if he’s willing to share it or not.”
As for Team Trump’s allegedly manipulative fundraising tactics, an MSNBC report this week found that the National Republican Congressional Committee also resorted to pre-checked boxes to ensure recurring payments, alongside over-the-top messaging aimed at pressuring donors. “We need to know we haven’t lost you to the Radical Left,” read one fundraising call-to-action featured on the NRCC’s site. “If you UNCHECK this box, we will have to tell Trump you’re a DEFECTOR & sided with the Dems. CHECK this box and we can win back the House and get Trump to run
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Published at Thu, 08 Apr 2021 22:00:26 +0000