Trump is fundraising off of his expected indictment: The former president, who is expected to face criminal charges later this week, has asked his supporters to sign a petition- and asked them for money simultaneously.
Donald Trump Is Working It
The former president is expected to be indicted in New York, at some point this week or next, on charges related to his alleged payments to porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016. This week, his campaign sent an email to supporters in reaction to the expected charges.
And as has been his messaging throughout, Trump attempted to characterize an indictment of him as an indictment of all of his supporters.
“They’re trying to intimidate YOU and cancel out YOUR vote,” the fundraising email said, per Insider.
“Which is why the Trump for President 2024 campaign is compiling millions and millions of petition signatures from Americans like you CONDEMNING these threats of a possible arrest,” the email said, seeking 74 million signatures for the petition. That references the approximately 74 million people who voted for Trump in 2020.
But as noted by Insider, signing the petition takes supporters to a page where they are asked to contribute money to the 2024 campaign- “$3,300 or other suggested amounts of cash.” The donations are meant to “help DEFEND our America First movement during these dark times,” according to the advertising copy.
How He Does It
Trump has previously used investigations and other setbacks as opportunities to raise money. Among other questionable Trump fundraising tactics over the years, there have been claims of the existence of a “Trump Donor Hall of Fame,” which the recipient is one donation away from joining.
“President Trump will be walking through the Trump Donor Hall Fame later today, and we know he’ll be looking for YOUR NAME,” one such email from 2020 said, implying that there is a physical building somewhere where the list of such “Hall of Famers” is housed. Others have leaned heavily on emotional blackmail and the implication that Trump himself will be disappointed with the recipient if they don’t donate, or donate further.
Per The Hill, Trump’s campaign is seeking to take political advantage of the expected indictment, “using the threat to raise money for his presidential campaign while casting himself as a victim of a political state.”
Trump, and many of his supporters, have claimed that an indictment will help Trump’s election chances, and could even lead directly to Trump winning in 2024.
It Could All End Badly
But a new column in Politico, by Alexander Burns, argued the opposite case: That an indictment would actually be quite bad for the former president.
“It should be the climactic event in a yearslong saga involving marital infidelity, sleazy financial dealings, and now the first-ever criminal charge against a former American president,” Burns wrote. He argued that an indictment might have been good for Trump’s political fortunes at some points in the past, but probably not now.
“His base of support is too small, his political imagination too depleted, and his instinct for self-absorption too overwhelming for him to marshal a broad, lasting backlash,” the columnist said. “His determination to look inward and backward has been a problem for his campaign even without the indictment. It will be a bigger one if and when he’s indicted.”
And while Trump’s core supporters will likely be energized by an indictment, it would not be likely to gain the former president new voters. And Trump could be facing more charges in the future.
“But those supporters are a minority of the country, as Republicans have learned the hard way several times over. Stimulating Trump’s personal following was not enough to save the House for his party in 2018 or to defend the White House and the Senate in 2020, or to summon a red wave in 2022,” Burns said.
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Expertise and Experience:
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.