Our Grifter-in-Chief Has Raised $170 Million Since Election Day

Illustration for article titled Our Grifter-in-Chief Has Raised $170 Million Since Election Day
Photo: Tasos Katopodis (Getty Images)

Trump has raised some $170 million since Election Day, the result of an aggressive campaign to solicit donations from his supporters to fund recounts and litigation in his bid to contest the election results.

Most supporters made their donations in the immediate aftermath of the election, according to the New York Times. But as the Trump camp has met dead end after dead end in their efforts to reverse the outcome, emails soliciting cash from supporters have become more frequent and more urgent.

And though the emails say the funds will go toward an “Election Defense Fund,” the Times reports that a donor would have to send the Trump campaign more than $5,000 for any of it to begin to go toward recounts: The first 75 percent of donations gets funneled into a political action committee Trump set up following the election, which will finance whatever deranged plans he has for his political life after leaving office. The remaining 25 percent goes toward the Republican National Committee.

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Though the particulars outlined by the Times are new information, it’s been clear from the start that Trump’s attempts to litigate the 2020 election were nothing more than an elaborate grift to line his pockets. 

“This is a slush fund. That’s the bottom line,” Paul S. Ryan, a veteran campaign finance attorney, told the Associated Press earlier this month. “Trump may just continue to string out this meritless litigation in order to fleece his own supporters of their money and use it in the coming years to pad his own lifestyle while teasing a 2024 candidacy.”

Demanding recounts based on completely false claims of voter fraud gets to be costly, and Trump has millions in other legal debts awaiting him when he leaves the White House. Sure, Trump could (probably) pay these debts himself, but why would he when he can get his supporters to foot the bill?

Night blogger at Jezebel with writing at The Baffler, The Nation, Vice, Gothamist, The Awl, and more.

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DISCUSSION

One of two things can happen here:

- Trump burns through this pile of cash right away on the assumption that his sycophants will continue to pump in the cash to fund his lavish lifestyle. Everything will come to a screeching halt when only OANN and Newsmax are the ones willing to provide him with a free mouthpiece. Twitter will ban Trump after he demands violence against all elected Democrats. The 5x daily “SAVE AMERICA! 100X MATCH! $20 = $2000!” e-mails will go straight to the Spam folder. Trump will end up in a worse place financially, staring down the barrel at billions of dollars of debts and at least a decade worth of lawsuits.

- The fundraising scheme turns into a sort of “club.” Donate X amount, receive limited edition swag. Donate Y amount, receive an invitation to listen to Eric spin yarns about the Deep State and the imminent plan to confiscate guns from every God-fearing Christian household. Donate $1000 now for a chance to meet Donald Trump! Among the MAGA set, regional officer status is a position of prestige and an army of gullible idiots will happily set up a monthly withdrawal from their already overburdened checking accounts. After all, nothing beats the dopamine rush of the bi-monthly two minutes (hours?) hate and pledging of allegiance to a cardboard cutout of their orange-tinted hero.

The latter would keep Trump afloat for the rest of his miserable life, but it would require competence and foresight that his people are sorely lacking.