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.
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?