Donald Trump and his team put his supporters through absolute hell, not only throughout his 4-year term but even more so towards the end as he came to the realization that was going to lose the 2020 presidential election. He pardoned one of the men that scammed his base out of millions of dollars in connection to the “We Build The Wall” fundraising campaign. He fed them lie after lie, conspiracy after conspiracy. He convinced them it was okay if their grandparents or fragile children lost their lives to the coronavirus pandemic, as long as his economy was doing okay.
Now, this is not to say to these people didn’t deserve everything that came to them. Human beings are capable of making decisions for themselves and they chose to blindly follow their “Messiah” rather than search for the truth themselves. However, it is a perfect example of what we’ve been preaching for nearly six years now — Donald Trump has only ever and will only ever care about himself.
Every time one of these schemes or slights against his very own people come to light, we find ourselves thinking “He couldn’t possibly get any worse.” Every single time, he does.
It was certainly no well-kept secret that Donald Trump’s campaign was suffering in the final months of the 2020 election as well as the months after he lost in November, yet continued to peddle pricey lawsuits and litigation in an attempt to somehow change the results of the people’s voice. We oftentimes found ourselves wondering how he paid for it all.
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A report from the New York Times has shed new light on how some of that funding was acquired and even knowing that the victims were supporters of the now-ex president, it will almost certainly make your skin crawl.
The deep-dive taken by the NYT tells the story of several individuals who supported Donald Trump and donated their own money to his floundering campaign. One was a 63-year-old Kansas City resident who was battling terminal cancer. Another was a retired 78-year-old Californian. Almost all of them fell victim to a scheme perpetrated by the Trump campaign to swindle donors out of more money than they were willing to give, ultimately costing these supporters thousands of dollars that they didn’t have.
According to the report, the Trump campaign had turned to what Harry Brignull, a user-experience designer in London, called “dark patterns.” A series of manipulative digital marketing practices in which they prechecked boxes on the website’s donation page to automatically set donors up to make recurring, weekly donations, and one box, known as a “money bomb,” was even prechecked to double their donation amount — all while burying the ability to uncheck these boxes, or even notice them in the first place, under a slew of fine print, lines of bold text, and capital lettering that almost entirely overwhelmed any of the smaller opt-out language on the site.
A wide variety of Trump supporters — ranging from military veterans and nurses to retirees and even experienced political operatives — were duped by these tactics into donating large sums of money that they never intentionally or knowingly signed up for.
Calls started swarming into banks and credit card companies alleging fraud for thousands of dollars. Eventually, the Trump campaign was in a position where they had no choice but to refund the donations that they acquired through their sketchy, dishonest scheme. However, not before the extra donations propped up the ex-president’s campaign and essentially served as an interest-free loan from uninformed, oblivious supporters. These same tactics were employed in the wake of the election, when he guilted his supporters into hefty donations to help him fight the “massive election fraud,” only to turn and use those donations to cover the tens of millions of dollars he had to pay out in refunds.
It’s a relatively common scheme among marketers to steer American consumers into purchasing products they don’t want, such as subscriptions to magazines. However, consumer advocates say is a whole different can of worms when it’s a presidential campaign employing the scheme on voters in the heat of a nasty presidential election, and it comes with ramifications of its own kind.
Ira Rheingold, the executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, said of the tactic: “It’s unfair, it’s unethical and it’s inappropriate.”
Political strategists, digital operatives, and campaign finance experts alike have claimed they have never seen refunds from a campaign on such a large scale in their lives. According to the report, Donald Trump, the R.N.C., and their shared accounts refunded more money back to online donors in the last election cycle than every single federal Democratic candidate and committee in the entire nation combined.
The report from the Times goes into pinpoint detail on just exactly what Donald Trump and his people did to their small town donors and I recommend you give it a full read.
This just goes to show that no one is safe from Donald Trump’s corrupt ways. Not even the people who pay his bills.
You can read the full, bombshell report here.
Featured image via Political Tribune gallery