Donald Trump says he’s calling me “Patriot of the Month.” But the defeated president told me that month after month in fundraising emails, including every day this week.
No service to country required on my part, just a payment to Trump: A contribution to his growing political coffers at the Save America PAC. Luckily, he already checked the box that says I agree to “make this a monthly recurring donation.”
This is patriotism, Trump-style.
“For your eyes only”, pitches may start or “DO NOT SHARE”. Pick up a signed copy of his rally speech, they promise, or pick up markers like the ones he used to sign bills as president, or cheesy “LET’S GO BRANDON” baseball caps for your donation.
I refused to participate — I know, it’s hard to believe. But many cash-strapped hard-working Americans will accept such offers, eh. Trump has raised more than $100 million for his PAC since leaving office.
Here’s what’s more disgusting: So-called Republican leaders are so frustrated with Trump, they don’t speak up when he misleads their constituents. And that’s not even what bothers them.
What bothers them is that Trump is raising so much from small donors and funneling almost none of it to party candidates. This is despite his claims to would-be donors that he is helping Republicans take control of Congress in this year’s midterm elections.
Democrats have been quick to criticize Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama when they were in office for not sharing more of their feedback from donors, but even privately Republicans have been remarkably quiet about Trump’s gaffe.
“I’m not hearing a ton about it,” longtime national Republican strategist Doug Heye told me, “in part because, as with all things Trump, there’s a resignation that that’s exactly what he’s going to do. You I am doing hear a lot that it doesn’t spread the wealth. He hoards the money and keeps it — that’s what people are talking about.”
As with most things Trump, he breaks the rules. “As far as I know, no other former president has ever maintained a PAC, much less a PAC with nine figures in cash,” said Adav Noti, who for more than a decade was a consultant to the Federal Election Commission. my. “As they continue to rip off donors and engage in extremely unsavory and deceptive fundraising practices, I think an important question is where is all this money going to go?”
The money in so-called leadership PACs is supposed to go to the candidates. By law, however, Trump can convert it to personal use — unless he runs again. As Noti said, “the laws surrounding candidates who help themselves raise their own campaign money are pretty strict.”
Non-candidate Trump’s money grubbing has been ramping up lately, bringing in as much as $1 million a day, the Washington Post reported, as he capitalizes on the sentiment of his and his supporters’ grievances over what he falsely calls unjustified FBI “Burgs.” » at Mar-a-Lago on August 8. He needs the cash, he pleads, to fight back.
Similarly, days after the 2020 election, Sore Loser created the Save America PAC and began relentlessly emailing small-dollar donors, claiming he needed money for an “Official Election Protection Fund.” But “there was no such fund,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, told the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at its second hearing in June. “Therefore, there was not only the ‘Big Lie’, but also the ‘big lie’.”
Trump continues to endorse it even as the Republican Party struggles. Her Senate campaign arm, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, is so tight-lipped that it has withdrawn plans to buy television ads for her candidates in several battleground states, according to the Post, while Democratic candidates dominate the airwaves and in fundraising.
That has prompted Republicans to openly protest, but not Trump, Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, the chairman of the Senate campaign committee. However, if the Republicans do not win a majority in the Senate, it will not be Scott’s fault. After all, Republicans have other sources of campaign money, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s wealthy Senate Leadership Fund and, as The New York Times reported this week, a new conservative fund with $1.6 billion dollars from a little-known non-native electronics tycoon. by right-wing activist Leonard A. Leo.
No, if Republicans fall short in Senate races, it will be because Trump — with his endorsements of the slanderous, election-denying MAGA to more opponents — has pitted them against candidates who are defeated by extremists like Herschel Walker in Georgia, Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania and Blake Masters in Arizona.
Even McConnell no longer sounds confident about Republicans’ chances in the Senate. “The quality of the candidates has a lot to do with the outcome,” he said last week, without, of course, naming Trump as the quality control violator.
Trump, of course, has no qualms about naming and shaming McConnell. In both a post on the Truth Social website and a fundraising email I received Wednesday, the defeated president suggested without evidence that McConnell and his wife, Elaine Chao, who was Trump’s labor secretary, could are criminally liable for a conflict of interest in their involvement. government roles in her family’s shipping business with China.
“A new Senate Republican leader should be chosen immediately,” Trump wrote in his email — above the usual red “DONATE” button. Truth Social’s separate post was very ironic: McConnell, Trump wrote, “should be spending more time (and money!) helping [Republicans] you are elected”.
As usual, Trump projects, attributing his sins to others. But if Republicans don’t care enough to stand up to the man who is hurting their electoral prospects, why should the rest of us?
Here’s why: Because millions of well-intentioned citizens are literally buying Trump’s lies with their meager savings. Whether the huckster is a Nigerian email scammer or a former president, this is just wrong.
This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.