Despite his insistence that it would happen, Donald Trump was not arrested this week — but his presidential campaign has reportedly raised over US$1.5 million (about $2 million) as a result of the bogus claim.
On Saturday, the former president took to Truth Social and said he would be arrested over a criminal hush money investigation in New York. Trump, 76, has been accused of sending $130,000 (over $177,000) to porn actor Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Gregory Clifford, in 2016 to keep her from going public about an affair she claimed to have with him years earlier.
“The far & away leading Republican candidate & former president of the United States of America, will be arrested on Tuesday of next week,” Trump wrote. “Protest, take our nation back!”
The 2024 Trump campaign confirmed to Fox News that it raised $1.5 million in grassroots funding in only three days. Business Insider reported the $500,000 daily average is nearly double the average from the weeks before and after Trump announced his presidential bid in November. (The former average sat around $280,000 per day.)
To garner the funds, the Trump campaign blasted emails to supporters calling for donations.
“If the current Democrat regime can get away with threatening to arrest its biggest political opponent, then our once great Republic will have fully descended into a third-world tyranny,” read one email from the campaign, as per Fox News.
Potential donors were told in the same email that they were “our country’s only hope.” The campaign claimed a donation — recommended in $500, $1,000 or $3,300 amounts — would have a “1,500% impact.”
The emails asserted that Trump would be indicted despite having committed “no crime.”
Trump, who allegedly wanted to be handcuffed for his court appearance, also posted a call for campaign donations on Truth Social alongside a black-and-white video of compiled clips from when he was president.
“If you are doing poorly, as so many of you are, do not send anything,” Trump wrote. “If you are doing well, which was made possible through the great policies of the Trump Administration, send your contribution.”
“We have to take back our Country and, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” he concluded.
Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen reportedly paid Daniels hush money through a shell company before being reimbursed by Trump, whose company, the Trump Organization, logged the reimbursements as legal expenses.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is considering misdemeanour charges against Trump for falsifying business records and campaign finance violations.
Earlier in 2016, Cohen also arranged for former Playboy model Karen McDougal to be paid US$150,000 by the publisher of the supermarket tabloid The National Enquirer, which then squelched her story in a journalistically dubious practice known as “catch-and-kill.”
This is not the first time Trump has capitalized on his legal worries. Last year, Trump reportedly saw his accrued fundraising jump after he pushed for donations amid an FBI raid on his Mar-a-Lago estate.
— With files from The Associated Press
© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.