UPDATED: Trump Campaign Denies Sending Fundraising Email Purporting to Be From DeSantis

AP Photo/Matt York

(This piece has been updated post-publication to reflect a statement from Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung.)

Donald Trump is continuing his early run for president in 2024, and a recent fundraising email his joint fundraising campaign sent out is raising eyebrows.


The email, which was sent by Trump Save America JFC (which is the joint fundraising arm for Donald J. Trump for President 2024 and the Save America PAC) purports to be from Gov. Ron DeSantis. It uses the governor’s logo and is titled “should I run for president.” In the body of the email are paragraphs made to seem as if DeSantis wrote them. At the end of the message, there are links to donate to what one would assume is his presidential campaign.

Yet, when you go to the fine print, you find out that 99 percent of the donations go to Trump’s presidential campaign while one percent goes to the Save America PAC. Zero dollars end up in DeSantis’ hands in any capacity.

When I saw this, my first thought was how it could possibly be legal. There are two answers to that. Either it’s not, and the Trump campaign just engaged in some rather serious fraud, or they are using some old joint-fundraising agreement (possibly sourced through the Ronna McDaniel-led RNC) to get around any campaign finance issues. Either way, legal or not, it’s morally reprehensible to try to scam people out of money by posing as someone else, and there are going to be a lot of old ladies who don’t read the fine print.


One of the reasons I’ve been calling for new leadership at the top of the GOP is because of stuff like this. The entire party, including the RNC, has become one big grift to make money for consultants and candidates who have turned running for office into a business. These fundraising tactics are disgusting and misleading, meant to prey on people who don’t know any better. That’s not how to build trust in your political organization. It’s certainly not how to win elections, as the last several cycles have shown.

I don’t care who runs for president. If Trump wants to be the nominee, that’s fine. I think a big field in the primary will sharpen everyone, and I have nothing against him raising money. The scamming needs to stop, though. It makes the Republicans who engage in it look like clowns, and it harms the party as a whole. That these kinds of tactics have become popularized under Ronna McDaniel’s rule at the RNC is yet another reason she shouldn’t get another term.

Will DeSantis respond to this stupidity? Probably not. I’m guessing he’ll let it roll off his back as that seems to be his strategy right now. He has a right to be angry, though. It’s not okay to steal someone’s logo and likeness, write a fake message from them, and then pocket all the cash raised. This isn’t about Trump vs. DeSantis for 2024. It’s about having some basic moral standards toward voters.


UPDATE: Shelby Talcott reports that the Trump campaign denies sending the email.

Cheung has also contacted RedState directly, saying:  “This email is entirely fake and did not come from the campaign.”


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