Refusing to concede that he lost the presidential election to Joe Biden, Donald Trump is raising millions of dollars purportedly to fund his battle in court aimed at overturning the results. But it appears to be Trump's con of all cons.
We know that Trump is no virgin when it comes to separating people from their money, as his history attests. Trump University, which resulted in a judgement of $25 million against him, and his fraudulent charitable foundation, which cost him $2 million, were just two glaring examples.
And, perhaps the biggest con of all was his convincing the American people to elect him to the highest office in the land. Just over a year ago, author Jonathan Greenberg outlined what he calledTrump's "six essential cons":
Con No. 1: To borrow billions, Trump lies to inflate his net worth.
Con No. 2: To avoid taxes, Trump lies to deflate his net worth.
Con No. 3: To be a winner, Trump makes losers of those he does business with.
Con No. 4: To win in politics, Trump makes voters believe that his presidency benefits them.
Con No. 5: To avoid accountability, Trump makes the media, and truth, the “enemy of the people.”
Con No. 6: To stoke fear, Trump recasts perpetrators as victims.
However, this latest scam, the massive fundraising effort by Trump to purportedly fund his court battle against claimed "fraud" that cost him the election, appears to be another fraud perpetrated on his true believers.
As Steve Been wrote on MSNBC Nov. 12:
It's effectively a scam wrapped in a scam. Team Trump starts by falsely telling its followers that there's an election conspiracy -- indeed, the campaign has sent dozens of messages along these lines to donors in recent days -- which it then follows by encouraging supporters to help combat the made-up conspiracy by sending the president's political operation some money.
But those who grab their wallets probably won't realize that their money may not go toward election lawsuits at all, despite Team Trump's deceptive pitch.
In fact, the Donald Trump for President website in continuing the pitch for contributions to the Election Defense Fund, includes these messages to spur on donations:
However, the fine print tells a different story.
Donors who think they are helping Trump wage his courtroom battles and to retain the presidency and "save America" are in for a rude awakening. A full 75 percent of contributions to the Trump Make America Great Again Committee goes to his new Save America political action committee, with 25 percent going to the Republican National Committee's Legal Proceedings Account.
What is the Save America PAC? Supposedly it was set up by Trump to finance his political activities after he leaves office, including a possible run for the White House in 2024. So far, it has raised upwards of $170 million, according to The New York Times.
So, it's no wonder Trump keeps ratcheting up the heat on his election fraud claims -- it's generating mountains of cash that could be used for who knows what.
The Associated Press quoted Paul S. Ryan, a campaign finance attorney with Common Cause as putting it this way:
“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.”
And that idea of a 2024 candidacy by Trump? According to his niece, author Mary Trump, he won't even be running. Here's what she said on "The View" when co-host Sunny Hostin asked her what she thought would be his next move, citing several reasons:
"One of them, and perhaps the most important, is that he may be facing some serious charges at the state level. Plus there is some lawsuits that he will have to grapple with, and of course there is his financial exposure. So, I don't — I don't see that happening.”
Trump owes a ton of money -- upwards of $1 biillion, according to Forbes. Could this money be used to help cover some of that debt?
“This is a slush fund. That’s the bottom line,” said Ryan of Common Cause. "There is no limit to how much Donald Trump can pay himself or any member of his family under 'Save America."
Perhaps those loyal supporters who swallow every line of pretend patriotism spewed by Trump -- some of whom are unemployed because of Trump's mishandling of the pandemic -- might want to think about that before they open their wallets to send him their last $25.