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Monday, December 09, 2019

https://www.flickr.com/photos/3059349393/6866575323

Reprinted with permission from The Daily Kos

For Donald Trump, the grift never ends. And fortunately for him, Republicans are a bunch of well-healed suckers.

Now that Republican lawmakers have gifted the GOP to the twice-impeached, two-time popular vote loser and he is playing kingmaker in primaries across the country, Trump is capitalizing on the chance to squeeze the Republican Party for everything it's worth.

That means charging GOP candidates and organizations hefty fees to hold events at his properties, potentially have him "drop by" your fundraiser and, who knows, maybe plying Trump with money ups your chances of getting an endorsement. According to fresh reporting from the Washington Post, in 2021, GOP candidates and conservative groups had held at least 30 events at Trump properties through mid-December. That's far more than the 13 fundraisers the Post counted in 2020, making clear (as if it wasn't already) that Trump is still the de facto party chief and he’s cashing in on it.

Trump's schedulers just have a few questions before giving you a quote for your Mar-a-Lago (or maybe Bedminster) event: Do you want the just-the-basics treatment (meaning property access and bragging rights), the deluxe package (property access + a Trump drop-in), or the premium all-inclusive plan (property access + a Trump mention on the invite + a Trump drop-in complete with candidate photos, please specify how many!).Not kidding. Trump is monetizing every single element—his property, his name, his attendance, photos with him, etc. And although his endorsement isn't specifically for sale, showering cash on him certainly doesn't hurt. Trump, for instance, just happened to endorse Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida for reelection on the very day Rubio held a fundraiser luncheon at Mar-a-Lago. What are the chances?

The Post found that Trump had endorsed 11 of the 20 GOP candidates who held fundraisers at his properties by the time their event took place. But Trump has also withheld his endorsement in certain GOP primaries even after a suitor has booked. Blake Masters, one of several Republicans running for U.S. Senate in Arizona, failed to secure Trump's backing despite holding a fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago in November.

Nonetheless, Masters found it necessary to give Trump a five-star review.

“I'd been to Mar-A-Lago before, but I’m always blown away when I return. We always knew we wanted to host an event there, and it was especially awesome to learn that President Trump was willing to host us and attend the event. He was a huge draw for dozens of our guests,” Masters said in a statement. Trump's remarks included one of his signature anti-Democratic rants, which Masters called "high energy.”

In fact, no one would dare give a review that wasn't five stars.

“He can bring people to the table who will write checks,” offered Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who held a golfing fundraiser with Trump in May that Graham said raised more than $1 million. “He has real juice.”

So sure, you may have seen video of sullen Trump stopping by random Mar-a-Lago events to cough up a little diatribe about being the 2020 loser, but apparently people are paying for that.

“Between his popularity and the perceived cool factor of Mar-a-Lago, it has a significant attractiveness in and of itself,” says Jonathan Felts, an adviser to Rep. Ted Budd of North Carolina, who Trump has endorsed for the state’s open Senate seat and who has also held a fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago for his campaign.

The “cool factor” is just priceless.

Here's the WashingtonPost's list:

AT LEAST 20 GOP CANDIDATES HELD EVENTS AT TRUMP PROPERTIES IN 2021
DATECANDIDATESTATEENDORSED?
FEB. 20Sen. Mike LeeUtah
MARCH 5Gov. Kristi NoemS.D.
MARCH 12Sarah Sanders (gubernatorial bid)ArkansasYes
MARCH 13Lynda Blanchard (failed Senate bid)AlabamaNo
MARCH 19Gov. Ron DeSantisFlorida
MARCH 24Max Miller (House bid)OhioYes
APRIL 9Sen. Marco RubioFloridaYes
APRIL 9Sarah Sanders (gubernatorial bid)ArkansasYes
APRIL 23Rep. Mo Brooks (Senate bid)AlabamaYes
APRIL 26Josh Mandel (Senate bid)OhioYes
ARPIL 28Rep. Billy Long (Senate bid)Missouri
APRIL 30Rep. Jason Smith Missouri
JULY 19Rep. Ronny JacksonTexasYes
JULY 27Reps. Claudia Tinney, Beth Van DuyneNY, TXYes
NOV. 10Blake Masters (Senate bid)Arizona
NOV. 11Rep. Ted Budd (Senate bid)NCYes
NOV. 12Kari Lake (gubernatorial bid)ArizonaYes
DEC. 1Herschel Walker (Senate bid)GeorgiaYes
DEC. 7Anna Paulina Luna (House bid)FloridaYes
DEC. 9Texas Attorney General Ken PaxtonTexasYes

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