There is an old saying to the effect that if you sit down at a poker game and you can’t figure out who the mark is, you’re the mark. That has never been truer than this election season.
We started out with Ben Carson running a campaign that seemed more like he was selling Thomas Kinkade Christmas ornaments than running a political campaign. But, of course, the megalith in this Stonehenge of grifting was the Trump campaign. Trump has run his campaign like he’s run his businesses, as a machine designed to enrich himself while leaving furious partners and disappointed customers in the comet trail of failure. Consider this:
With less than two weeks until the election, Donald Trump has amassed an impressive army of small donors, fueling his bid with individual contributions of $200 or less. But noticeably absent from the list of contributors is basically anyone with the last name Trump, many of the surrogates who represent The Donald on national television, and members of his own campaign staff.
According to a review of Federal Election Commission filings by The Daily Beast, only one of Trump’s children showed up on a list of itemized receipts for the campaign: Eric. On Sept. 7, 2016, Eric Trump appears to have contributed $376.20 listed only as “meeting expense: meals.” It appears that money was later refunded. Eric Trump did not respond to a request for comment about the transaction.
Ivanka Trump, who previously contributed to Hillary Clinton and John McCain in 2007 and 2008 respectively, does not appear to have given to her father.
Donald Trump Jr., who contributed to Iowa congressman Steve King in 2014 and Hillary Clinton in 2007, is also nowhere to be found.
And a search for Tiffany Trump yielded no results.
The Trump children are not the only prominent figures in his orbit who have not invested in the mogul’s presidential bid.
Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the former Defense Intelligence Agency director turned Trump warm-up act, has not given the candidate a dime. Neither has Governor Chris Christie, Trump’s first rival for the presidency to endorse him. Christie gave his own campaign the maximum allowable contribution of $2,700 on Sept. 29, 2015.
Many of Trump’s surrogates, who have been generous in previous campaigns, this year have kept their wallets closed to The Donald.
Newt Gingrich contributed $4,600 to John McCain in 2008 but has yet to give any money to Trump’s campaign. Ben Carson, another staunch Trump defender, gave Mitt Romney $1,000 in April 2012 but nothing to Trump this cycle.
The rest of the Trump circle of staffers, advisers, and surrogates who are absent from his FEC filings includes: former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, adviser and attorney Michael Cohen (an admitted registered Democrat), and former executive of Breitbart and Trump’s campaign CEO Steve Bannon.
So who has given to the Trump campaign? Apparently the folks who sat down at the table and couldn’t recognize the mark.