I started the morning with a lovely invitation: “Let’s have breakfast,” the subject line chirped.
The sender: “Donald J. Trump”
This was after an invitation to dinner last month. “Join me in Dallas,” Trump asked in that note, before addressing me as “friend.”
And because we’re friends, the president confided in me: “The media is CLUELESS when it comes to understanding what voters think about our country.”
So maybe not BFFs.
But since we're friends, he must also know I once called him "a bloviating yam."
And I'm sure he knows that back in March 2016 I was already worried that his vitriolic bluster would contaminate American kids with the "Trump effect."
Maybe he wants to discuss toning down his rhetoric over a well-done steak and eggs?
Or maybe he actually loved it when I predicted he would have the "Apprentice presidency" and he wants to tell me who is going to be fired next.
Wait a minute. I know. He wants to thank me for giving him credit for lighting the torches of white supremacy in Charlottesville this summer! That’s it.
Frankly, I’m stumped. Because I have said it in a box, I have said it with a fox, I have said it with a mouse, I have said it with a house. I do not like that bloviating yam, I do not like him, Sam I am. And I can’t understand why he’d invite me anywhere.
When I scroll down on the lovely invites, that are designed to appear as though they’re coming straight from The Donald himself, I see he wants more than a meal with me. The billionaire wants my money: $3 to be exact.
See, everyone else at that dinner in Dallas — a glittery fundraiser full of the one-percenters — had to pay between $2,700 and $35,000 for a seat.
That breakfast he wanted me to have with him in New York? It’s the “Holiday in Manhattan” fundraiser where the elite are spending between $1,000 and $50,000 for the chance to break eggs with him.
And his invitation will give me the chance to enter a raffle — with a minimum $3 buy-in — to get a seat among his wealthiest supporters.
It’s all fundraising for 2020, the Make America Great Again Committee and the Republican National Committee building up their war chest, nibbling away at people’s wallets by stoking their commander-in-chief fantasies, at $3 a pop.
Clearly, the folks running the fundraising campaigns hired the same geniuses who put Bo Obama on the home page of the tax bill or decided the gate at Dachau would make a cool poster to sell at Walmart.
Because if they ask me for cash, who else are they rattling the tin cup at?
Maybe Hillary Clinton has some change in the bottom of her purse?
Would Marshawn Lynch want to go all in?
Or perhaps Juli Briskman can dip into some of the cash folks sent to her as a thank-you for flipping off Trump’s motorcade?
I’m not the only last-person-on-earth-to-give-money-to-Trump who got these solicitations.
I found a few other journalists and plenty of anti-Trump activists who have been similarly invited to donate and dine.
Vikki Kauffman is really vocal about her opposition to Trump. She raises poodles, but her social media feed is all politics.
And she was also stunned to get the same email I got from our president. She posted it on Facebook — to howls from her like-minded friends in Seattle.
“I could see myself being all nice yes I’ll go . . . I would love to meet him . . . Yada yada . . . then get there and really give him a piece of my mind! Ha!” one of Kauffman’s friends replied.
“Oh I think we’d last about 30 seconds before being escorted out by the secret service,” another one said.
Debbie Newlin, a Republican who disdains the one in the White House, is also getting all those emails, even though she keeps writing back to the RNC about her displeasure with Trump.
“I have received untold numbers of telephonic, emailed and snail-mailed polls, surveys and solicitations asking for my support. I have been very clear in my refusals,” Newlin told me. “In fact, I sent back several mailed solicitations on which I had written, ‘I will not ever make a contribution of support to this party as long as Donald Trump is a candidate.’ ”
No luck, though. She keeps getting them.
Sean Walsh, a lawyer in Olympia, Wash., has no clue why he also started getting such friendly notes from the president.
“I don’t know how I got on their email list,” he said.
“I have protested him, but so did my wife who doesn’t receive those emails,” he said. “Also, my cousin who voted for Trump doesn’t receive them. It is a mystery.”
So I asked Cassie Smedile, a press secretary for the Republican National Committee, to help me figure it out.
It didn’t take long to get her answer after her tech folks crawled through their data.
I signed up for campaign updates in the summer of 2016, she told me.
A normal thing for a reporter to do. In fact, any informed American should try to learn about each candidate. But does that mean they should be asking me for money now?
They think so. A year after the election, the RNC folks are doing “database maintenance,” she said.
And that means they’re looking at any email address they have that isn’t already part of their standard donor base and seeing whether they can get cash out of it.
Ah, yes. That makes sense now to Kauffman, the poodle woman. She remembers joining activists who were signing up for Trump rallies during the campaign, only to skip them, a tactic to shrink Trump’s crowd size.
“Oh, we were so naive and hopeful back then,” she said.
The GOP’s strategy is working, Smedile said.
“The RNC is raising unprecedented amounts of money from everyday Americans via online outreach,” Smedile said. “We are grateful to the more than 300,000 new online small-dollar donors who are joining our effort in support of President Trump’s mission to make America great again.”
I guess I could spring for the $3 entry fee. I’m sure I could get a good column out of that glitzy breakfast in Manhattan.
Then again, that only means I’ll keep getting more emails from the yam.
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