The Dictionary defines “Grifter” as “Someone named Donald Trump.” It’s been a few years since I actually looked at a Webster’s, but I’m pretty sure that still holds as a definition—at least since the 1970s. Forbes has a new story about Trump and how he moved millions of dollars from his reelection campaign into his personal account and the Trump Organization. In fact, he was even moving money out of the campaign and into those accounts after he lost the election to Joe Biden.
That donor money has to go somewhere, so it might as well go right into Trump’s own till, right? On top of this, according to the report, Trump’s “joint-fundraising committees,” the ones that partner with the Republican Party, also moved “about $4.3 million of donor money into Trump’s business from January 20, 2017 to December 31, 2020—at least $331,000 of which came after the election.” Stay classy. This accounting compliments a Washington Post story from after the election that detailed how much money the Trump campaign was fundraising on the promise of paying for ballot recounts, while not spending any of that donor money on recounts.
All of this money went to cover rent and travel and other expenses, and is collected in the campaign’s FEC filings. But, as with his presidency, Trump’s campaign finances are not unlike his regular finances—self-dealing and clearly swampy. To be clear, this is not all the money that likely went to Trump-owned businesses, but the money that very clearly went to Donald Trump. An example Forbes gives is that they did not count things like $31,000 in air fare “to a company named DT Endeavor LLC.” They don’t know if Donald Trump owns any part of DT Endeavor LLC. But to put the level of first draft dime-store novel grift going on here into perspective, everybody has their dirty paws out.
Less than a week after that, the campaign paid $3,000 in rent to Trump Restaurants LLC, which the former president owns outright. That company appears to be connected to a souvenir stand in the basement of Trump Tower.
Donald Trump is the crudest and most gauche version of what billionaires by nature are. The mantra they live by is take the money and run. You get the idea.