Republicans and Democrats Try to Cash In on Trump’s Conviction

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It wasn’t long after former President Donald Trump was convicted by a Manhattan jury on Thursday evening that his allies and enemies seized on the verdict to try to raise much-needed campaign cash.

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Just moments after the former President and current Republican candidate for President was found guilty on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records related to hush money paid to a porn star ahead of the 2016 election, Trump’s social media platform Truth Social displayed sponsored posts that called the trial “rigged” and asked supporters to “chip in” to send Democratic nominee President Joe Biden a message. “I am a political prisoner!” Trump claimed in the post as well as in multiple emails, including one that apparently unveiled a black MAGA cap to commemorate “this dark day in history.”

The Republican fundraising platform WinRed, used by Trump’s 2024 campaign and scores of conservative candidates and organizations, reportedly temporarily crashed within an hour of the verdict.

“So many Americans were moved to donate to President Trump’s campaign that the WinRed pages went down,” Team Trump said on X. “We are working on getting the website back online as quickly as possible.” 

Trump campaign spokesperson Brian Hughes said in a statement: “From just minutes after the verdict, the digital fundraising system has been hit with record numbers of supporters. The traffic is so large that it is causing intermittent delays. The campaign is grateful for this massive outpouring of support because it shows that Americans have seen this sham trial as the political election interference that Biden and Democrats have always intended. President Trump is fighting to save our nation and every level of support helps keep the fight going. November 5th is the day Americans will deliver the real verdict!”

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GOP strategist Chris LaCivita said on X: “If you are one of the millions of American Patriots wanting to donate to Donald Trump’s campaign and you get an error message from @WINRED …don’t give up! Log back on and try again ! or Text TRUMP to 88022 Help us send weak @JoeBiden packing !!!”

Republican Senator J.D. Vance posted on X after the verdict: “The best way to fight back right now against the sham trial is to donate to the Trump campaign.”

Read More: Trump Is Now a Felon. What Voters Do With That Information Will Write This Era’s History

It wasn’t just the Trump campaign that was seeking to turn fury into financial gain. The National Republican Congressional Committee also sent out a fundraising text that said the “Radical Left will regret this. We’ll make sure of it,” while the Republican Party of Iowa sent an email encouraging “$34” donations.

“With the verdict now I think you will have the grassroots absolutely unleashed,” Matthew Bartlett, a Republican strategist and former Trump administration appointee, told Politico. “While [Trump] was 34 counts guilty, you can probably expect $34 million might be pouring in.”

But small-dollar donations are also being bolstered by much bigger checks written by the rich. Hours before Trump’s verdict was delivered, Silicon Valley venture capitalist Shaun Maguire said on X that he had just donated $300,000 to Trump’s presidential campaign, adding that the anticipated felony conviction was a factor in his support: “I believe our justice system is being weaponized against him,” he said. Shortly after the verdict, former Rep. Lee Zeldin said on X that he had just secured an $800,000 donation for Trump’s Joint Fundraising Committee, adding: “Never experienced a massive ask that easy.”

To the Trump campaign’s chagrin, however, some Republicans appear to be rallying around Trump’s conviction to solicit donations just for themselves. Colorado congressional candidate Dave Williams, Politico reported, sent out a message lambasting Trump’s conviction with a button that reads, “STAND WITH TRUMP & DAVE.” But clicking on the button directs to William’s sole fundraising page.

Read More: Here Are the Split Reactions to Trump’s Guilty Verdict

Democrats are similarly trying to cash in on the conviction, clearly aware that it likely won’t be an obstacle to Trump returning to the White House. President Biden took to X hours after the conviction: “There’s only one way to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office: At the ballot box.” Biden’s post links to ActBlue—the Democratic counterpart fundraising site to WinRed.

Biden’s campaign reportedly sent a fundraising email Thursday evening with the subject “Apropos of nothing.” It didn’t explicitly mention the verdict but said, “We think today’s a great day to give to our campaign.”

Democratic groups have also sent out fundraising messages. A text from Forward Blue, a PAC, declared: “Trump is GUILTY on all 34 counts! Rush $7 ASAP (400% MATCH) to help us DESTROY him in November.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee posted on X: “In the wake of his conviction, House Republicans continue to support their convicted felon presidential nominee.” A follow-up tweet says, “Let’s get rid of these enablers once and for all,” with a link to a fundraising page for House Democrats.

Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State and Trump’s Democratic rival in 2016, posted on Instagram a mug showing a silhouette of her alongside the words “turns out she was right about everything.”

“The design happened to be finalized today,” Clinton said, adding that purchases would support “groups defending democracy” through the progressive PAC she founded, Onward Together.

At the moment, Biden’s reelection campaign holds a money lead over Trump, with $84 million cash on hand reported at the end of April, compared to the Trump campaign’s $49 million. But Trump’s campaign has begun gaining momentum, raising more in April than Biden’s did for the first time this cycle and looking to repeat that feat in May.

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