Once A Grifter…

Whenever there is discussion on this blog about why thus-and-so happened, someone will inevitably post a comment containing “follow the money.” I wish I could say I disagree with the premise that–no matter what the subject is–money is a substantial part of the explanation, but I can’t. (The problem with dismissing adages of this sort is that, no matter how hackneyed, they tend to reflect reality.)

One of the most illuminating aspects of  the testimony that emerged from the June 13th hearing  of theJanuary 6th Committee was the obscene amount of money Trump raised in the run-up to January 6th–and the blatant dishonesty of the way he raised and distributed it. As the Daily Beast reported,

The committee also alleged that the Trump campaign and its allies used those false claims to exploit donors, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. In perhaps the most egregious instance, multiple campaign officials told the committee that the “official election defense fund” mentioned in fundraising emails didn’t even exist. It was just a marketing ploy to extract money, which was then divvied up among a number of accounts.

And while Trump and GOP allies did end up igniting millions of dollars on the legal altar, most of the donations went elsewhere. A slide put together by congressional investigators pointed out that $5 million went to Event Strategies, which helped set up the rally at The Ellipse near the White House where Trump fired up an angry crowd that later attacked the Capitol building. They also noted that last year, $1 million went to the nonprofit that hired his chief of staff Mark Meadows, with another $1 million going to the America First Policy Institute, which backed the social media lawsuit Trump lost in April. Another $204,857 was funneled to the Trump Hotel Collection.

“The Big Lie was also a big rip off,” Lofgren said.

Co-chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) said the panel would explore that element in a future hearing.

I can hardly wait…

As Representative Lofgren pointed out, people making these small donations are entitled to know where their money is actually going. According to the findings of the investigation, however, funds were not only diverted from their purported purpose, it wasn’t inadvertence; that was pretty clearly the intent from the start.

As the Independent reported,

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign raised $250 million from supporters by telling them the money would be used to fight voter fraud, but the campaign knew those claims of fraud were bogus and instead diverted the money to his own political organisation, the House committee investigating the January 6 attacked claimed on Monday.

Mr Trump’s campaign sent millions of fundraising emails to supporters encouraging them to donate to help fight voter fraud between election day and January 6, the committee said. Many of those emails asked supporters to donate to an “election defense fund” for legal cases related to the election.

 However, an investigator for the committee said that fund did not exist, and most of that money went Mr Trump’s ‘Save America’ political action committee, not to election-related litigation.

“The evidence highlights how the Trump campaign pushed false election claims to fundraise, telling supporters it would be used to fight voter fraud that did not exist,” said Amanda Wick, senior investigative counsel for the House committee.

“The Trump campaign knew these claims of voter fraud were false yet they continued to barrage small-dollar donors with emails encouraging them to donate to something called the ‘Official Election Defense fund.’ The select committee discovered no such fund existed,” she added.

Everything this man ever touched was a grift–a con job. Trump steaks, vodka, University…the list goes on. Most sentient Americans concluded long ago that–in addition to his repellent personal characteristics–Trump was a petty crook, not a businessman.

The question we confront isn’t whether Trump himself was guilty of lies big and small, or whether he constantly engaged in unethical and illegal activities. We know the answer to that. The question–to which I have absolutely no answer–is why so many Americans see him as somehow admirable, as someone deserving of their loyalty and money.

The only answer that makes any sense is that these people–these members of the cult–live in an alternate reality, an information bubble in which Fox is actually a news organization, the My Pillow nutcase has access to classified information, Sidney Powell and Rudy Guliani are competent lawyers, and every “legacy” news source is part of a”deep state” conspiracy financed by George Soros that is lying to them.

There’s a diagnosis for people who believe those things…..


  1. The problem with the committee is that they are ignoring the real money behind the scenes. Why haven’t they called Charles Koch and the heiress to Publix Supermarkets?

    Until they bring in the real money men and women who fund the right, then this is all a performative exercise for the media and TV fans. Selling ads and fundraising.

  2. We saw this demented crook nearly get derailed when he was recorded bragging about how he can get away with “grabbing them by the pu***” At first, the Republicans started to all run away from him, then they mostly all ran back to him. The whole Trump mess defies all logic.

  3. I suppose there are millions of embarrassed trumpers out there that are starting to realize that their “businessman” POTUS ripped them off. How will they react from here on out? The billionaire continues to beg for money yet, these poor souls have nothing left to give thanks to the grifter.

  4. I dunno. The reasons for his popularity are obvious to me. He’s a liar, he’s intellectually bankrupt, he’s blows the dog whistle better than most, and he has/had zero ideas for governing. In other words, he’s a Republican. End of discussion.

  5. With permission,

    The true desire of individuals always focuses on the top! Just like after milking a dairy herd, that thick cream sets right on the top, just there for the taking! And therein lies the makings of butter, cheeses and yogurt that, as they say, are the cream of the crop!

    With so much of this nutritious cream and colostrum being scraped off the milk, the nutritional value drops, and the Young calves and bulls suffer.(the least of us)

    When permission is given, the cream is scraped off the top and what’s left is shown to the masses. It might look good, but it’s actually a coin purse filled with copper pennies instead of (the cream) gold krugerrands!

    The grift never stops, the bait and switch is in full effect. They keep telling the masses more as needed, and like lambs to the slaughter led by the “Judas goat,” they willingly give.

    All the citizenry of society are good for is being a reliable commodity. And when the usefulness of that commodity is done, the next phase of slavery begins! The cream never ever is allowed to sink to the lowest denominator of humanity, the least of us.

  6. Todd,

    What proof is there that Charles Koch (every liberal’s boogeyman) had anything to do with helping fund the 1/6 insurrection? Koch has always been pretty anti-Trump and has refused to use his money to help him, while instead helping other Republican candidates.

  7. “The committee also alleged that the Trump campaign and its allies used those false claims to exploit donors, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. In perhaps the most egregious instance, multiple campaign officials told the committee that the “official election defense fund” mentioned in fundraising emails didn’t even exist. It was just a marketing ploy to extract money, which was then divvied up among a number of accounts.”

    Can Trump’s “Election Defense Fund” be separated from the “Reelect Nixon” campaign by anything other than the lies told to grift the public and where the millions ended up? Nixon’s “Your president is not a crook.” has been traded off for Trump’s “Big Lie” and both can only be explained by FOLLOW THE MONEY.

    As for the January 6th committee investigation; why has Roger Stone’s name been omitted from references to those who ignored subpoenas and been indicted and Trump’s pardon list?

  8. Wow; when I made my earlier comments I didn’t know today is the 50th anniversary of the Watergate break in. In addition to comparisons of “FOLLOW THE MONEY”, we can add the old adages “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” and “What goes around comes around for the Republican party. They are nothing but an overgrown, dangerous cliche!

  9. The small print in the marketing material should make for an interesting read, since it’s very likely that the short-fingered vulgarian’s more competent lawyers crafted it to come right up to the razor’s edge of fraud. The problem is, that after so much of this stuff goes out, there’s enough critical mass to push it over that edge and into something criminal. And I wouldn’t think at that point one would have to follow the money too far. Once it can be established that the gains were ill-gotten, spending it in chunks of over $10 grand puts your in money laundering territory. Not surprising, given that most of the Trump Organization is made up of shell companies, otherwise known as the “rinse cycle.”

    Next time the vulgarian has to come up with five words for a cognitive test, I’ve got some he can use: Racketeer, Influenced, Corrupt, Organization, Act.

  10. Paul Ogden Perhaps Koch hasn’t funded 1/6; however he has been a major funding source for pushing the GOP to the far right for decades. His finding helped open the door to welcome Trump into the White House.

  11. Former DoJ weasel Jeffrey Clark landed on his feet post trump, like most former office holders seem to do, if they fought the good fight and lost. It’s like a partisan retirement program.

    “Later career[edit]
    In August 2021 Clark was named the Chief of Litigation and Director of Strategy for the New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA),[8] which describes itself as a nonpartisan, nonprofit civil rights organization whose goal is “to protect constitutional freedoms from violations by the Administrative State.” The NCLA is mainly funded by the Charles Koch Foundation.[44][45] The organization’s current focus is opposition to vaccine mandates and other Covid-19-related regulations and orders.[46] In October, after Clark received a congressional subpoena regarding his participation in the January 6 attack on the Capitol, his name disappeared from the NCLA site.[10]”


  12. Stay tuned. The best is yet to come. If you have not read the original text of The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution, you still have time. We are witnessing the greatest civic lesson, live and online, in our nation’s history. There will be new heroes and sheroes for American history text books to be republished and studied the next three generations. Yes, President Trump will have his place in history, far more grim than a grifter.

  13. It’s about white. It’s about exploiting the insecurity of white people who fear not having an advantage. This whole inchoate fear of being replaced drives the the trump crowd. They refuse to accept demographic realities. So, if one is impotent to stop change they see as deadly to their way of life they glom onto fantasy and send money to trump and his grifters. Trump is a symptom of a economic insecurity inflicting our country. The fact that half of us can’t afford a thousand dollar emergency is a big problem. That insecurity leaves them vulnerable to rabble promising pie in the sky relief by disadvantaging trump and his crowd are truly scum.

  14. Let me add an adage to the conversation: “There’s a sucker born every minute.” (P.T. Barnum) This conversation also reminds me of H.L. Mencken, who famously said, “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.” Both of these quotes are elitist, but they are also true. Don’t bet that those who donate their hard earned cash to Donald will stop, just because they are informed that he’s ripping them off. I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating, he gave them the greatest gift he could give. He gave them permission.

  15. Has anyone who donated to Trump’s fraudulent money raising scheme protested yet? Like moths drawn to the flame they will burn themselves up before they change course.

  16. no one entertains the trump scam on atlantic city. how investors took the bait,and had a govenor decree eminate domain to screw long time owners out of beach front bungalows,owned since WW2 era by the people who built atlantic city post war. A con by trump and his paid for PR. theres many like this before he was even elected. but states being as they are,refused to open cases of con jobs,and the treasury,his tax state. blend all this, and the foot dragging has become a national security issue with democracy. the rich have and invent a propagated a legal system of lawyers who would work for anyone with money,for,any reason..(capone would be proud)and judges who delibertly undermine the law as it stands in agreement with such lawyers.
    in the trucking world we have standards too, yesterday in conversations, we all laughed at the fact, anyone who lives outside of NYC would never go to NYC for any money.
    we all laughed,the trumpers and all..
    until i threw the punch line,
    “then why would you vote for the epitone of NYC trump…”
    seems there were plenty of dogs walk away with their tails between their legs..
    im back fixin the roads and enjoying the infrastructure money,your bridges and roads are getting the needed,and my tonnage is up this year after competitive bids for the work,all legal…it works..
    best wishes all, happy dads day..

  17. I saw all this coming when I read Michael Cohen’s book, “Disloyal”. He saw the grift of Trump first hand. His soulful admission that he was drawn to Trump’s power chilled me to the bone. The pathetic wretches who have no real life are ALSO drawn to that power. Trump knew he could exploit the fear, hate and bigotry of the 70 million who still lick his boots.

    Disgusting. I’m glad I’m old.

  18. Remember the little pre-checked box that made so many small donors’ contributions monthly if they failed to notice and change that option?

  19. Trump is, has been, and will always be, first and foremost, a grifter who sold his wares to The GOP, Putin, Kim Jong Un and Xi who all had and have designs on this country. The effort saved the family fortune he inherited and has always and only lived on but was chipping away away at with bad business deals financed by entertaining as a celebrity being a celebrity.

    The big lie and ripoff bought him the Republican Party who now follow him like puppies following mom not wanting all the milk too far out of reach.

    Can Democrats save the country from him or will we be next to fall?

  20. Confirmation bias, is my answer to why these fools buy into his garbage. He supports their bigoted views, feeds their
    anxieties, presents, even, as a man-god to the religious right, who live in an alternate reality to begin with.
    He looked “good” in thoise idiotic posters of him in a Rambo body, with an anti-tank weapon, ready to “clean out the swamp.”
    Yes, Todd, bring Koch and Ms. Publix to account, by all means. Koch has funded the right-wing establishment since the ’70’s.

  21. The old biblical expression of “The love of money is the root of all evil” has been nuanced by greedhogs such as Trump to emphasize that it is the love of money and not money per se which is such a root. I have never been able to make that distinction. If, I reasoned, one loves the love of something he also loves that something, and I think Aristotle would agree.

    Trump is just another petty crook born into a rich family and has used other peoples’ money and corporate covers in several enterprises to go bankrupt. With his Trump/Ryan enormous tax cut for the rich and corporate class in a midnight move a month before Democrats took over the Congress in January, 2018, (among other goodies) he would have taken the USA into bankruptcy, but unlike his other failed enterprises, the USA can and does run deficits, so he added trillions to our deficit while ignoring a pandemic as just another flu, all while hundreds of thousands of Americans died and foreign leaders (except for Putin and Orban and Xi – opportunists who knew an easily seduced narcissist dummy when they saw one) rightly thought he was a, uh, dummy.

    It was always the money for der Don. Take a look at the MBS scandal and whatever happened with Putin in Helsinki in re his Russian debts to their banks, and so now that he is out of office take a look at how he is victimizing his own “suckers and losers” (as we may lift from his description of our military) per today’s topic.

    He is now and has always been a criminal and with more than 4,000 lawsuits in his career we should all understand that he will not take any responsibility for his business or personal coduct or lack thereof lying down. It’s appeal, appeal, appeal! Women? NDAs. No problem, and if they won’t sign up, delay, appeal, make litigation so expensive they throw in the towel.

    I think, however, that his attempt to overthrow our government and end our democracy is a bridge too far and that the DOJ will pick out the low-hanging fruit from among the many felonies he has committed and let a jury decide his fate – and if carefully prosecuted and found guilty, his inevitable appeals will fail since jury verdicts are difficult to reverse – all this for us to experience assuming that he and we are among the living by such point in time.

  22. I find I need to keep reminding people that the majority of the Trump supporters are not well educated, and we should also remember that half of the population has an IQ under 100.

  23. The idea that people still love the grifter doesn’t surprise me.

    I see the Pete Popoff is back. For those who forgot, he was a televangelist/faith healer who was exposed as a fraud by James Randi on the Johnny Carson show, including tapes where he joked about fleecing his victims. Now he is selling some miracle spring water – drink it and checks will appear in your mailbox or something – You can’t keep a good grifter down.

    And not just here – Ray Hyman, a psychology professor, once appeared on a British radio show as a psychic, then revealed that he was just doing “cold readings” and explained it. The next several calls — “That’s nice, but can I get a psychic reading please?”

    Of course Trump’s people won’t care is he fleeces them. He makes them feel special and appeals to the inclinations of many people to admire anyone who gets whatever he wants. I have never witnessed such six-year old behavior (you beat me at War – you cheated – you fixed the cards), but Trump’s supporters don’t recognize it.

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