Neither Matt Gaetz nor Marjorie Taylor Greene should be in Congress. Gaetz is still attempting to scurry out from under a likely federal indictment for sex trafficking due to his involvement with a now-indicted Republican ally’s Florida crime spree. Gaetz has been an omnipresent purveyor of bizarre conspiracy theories and Greene was stripped of her House committee assignments for a pattern of inciting violence against Democratic House members.
Despite this, Gaetz and Greene have not only enjoyed the continued (though begrudging, these days) support of their fellow House Republicans, they’ve been engaged on a branded, nationwide fundraising tour to boost cash for their, um, sex-and-violence lifestyle. The “Put America First” tour has been flitting around the country so that enraptured Republican audiences can bask in the glow of the Republican sex trafficking and pro-violent insurrection heroes, at least in the places where they can find venues that will agree to host them. So how’s that working out?
Not well, it turns out! The Daily Beast now reports that the Put America First tour has been hemorrhaging money, with less than $60,000 in reported contributions raised for events that cost almost $290,000 to put on. Team Creepy has, in other words, lost something approaching a quarter million dollars on this tour. And that’s even though Team Creepy was, in the months immediately after the Republican attack on the Capitol building, raking in cash as two of the most prolific Republican fundraisers in the House.
This is not necessarily dire news for the Republican pervert-plus-insurrection duo. A major goal of the Gaetz-Greene appearances is probably just as proof that they can still make such appearances without being booed off the stage; while both have been distanced by House Republican colleagues who really, really do not want to appear in new photographs next to someone who might at any moment be led away in handcuffs for raping a minor or who might pipe up yet again with rhetoric comparing vaccinations to the Holocaust, they are teaming up to prove that among the nastiest element of the Republican base, they both remain welcome.
It’s a dare, of sorts, to their colleagues: cut us loose if you want, but know that among a good chunk of the Republican base, we are the heroes they want to follow, not you.
Unfortunately for Greene and Gaetz, the sort of Republicans who like Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene do not seem to be the sort of Republicans who have a lot of disposable income. The Daily Beast reports that the Put America First committee has only received four donations that topped $500 … ever.
There are other signs that members of the pro-Trump, pro-insurrection, pro-sex-crime Republican base are feeling a bit more sluggish in their support than they were earlier in the year. Ticket sales for an announced tour pairing Donald Trump with fired Fox News sex pest Bill O’Reilly have so far been slow, either indicating that support for Trump is petering out a bit, at least when “supporting Trump” requires paying Ticketmaster money, or that Everybody Hates Bill O’Reilly to such an extent that not even Trump supporters are willing to pay to see Trump if Bill O’Reilly is his scabby warmup act.
Similarly, a new “Freedom Phone” being marketed to paranoid Trump conservatives as being the ultimate answer to your super-secret communications needs is being blasted to hell and back for being a seemingly obvious scam—a cut-rate Chinese-made phone with software that may or may not be secure to begin with.
That somebody’s trying to scam conservatives for a quick buck, mind you, is not news. That it might not be working? That’s unheard of.
It’s too early to say what any of this means for the future. Events can and almost certainly will overtake whatever short-term trends Gaetz and Greene are swimming through at the moment. Matt Gaetz, for example, could be arrested for sex crimes. That might sharply reduce donations to his campaign—or, because Republicanism, might double them. Marjorie Taylor Greene might find new fame with a campaign comparing Tide Pods to the Holocaust; she might also stick a fork into an electrical outlet because she thought she saw a communist inside it. It’s anybody’s guess.
For the moment, though, we know that Greene and Gaetz have now bled something quickly approaching a quarter million dollars on a national redemption tour that nobody asked for and that will itself not likely survive whatever new scandals the pair jumps into next. So that’s something.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.