SOUTHAVEN, Miss. — On a Saturday morning at an arena outside Memphis, Terri Owens joined the crowd streaming in to see former president Donald Trump.
They lined up according to how much they’d paid.
At the far end of a white entrance tent, near a bus wrapped with a photo of Trump’s head on a muscular, shirtless body, were attendees who paid $55 for a pair of tickets as “citizens,” a general admittance option. At the front, closest to the doors guarded by Secret Service agents, stood a “presidential” tier who shelled out $3,995 each.
The Ameros are not going to any campaign, they are going directly into Trump’s pocket:
In fact, the fees aren’t going to Trump’s political action committee, his $100 million war chest. This event was not a Trump rally, where attendance is free.
Instead, it was a for-profit show, more like a rock concert. The proceeds benefit Trump personally as part of a multimillion dollar deal to speak at the events, according to two people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.
And what does the audience get?
Trump’s speeches at the events are often shorter than his signature political rallies.
As Lord Damp Nut is a lazy summabitch, a shady operation is doing the actual leg work, he just shows up to bleat, bray, and mewl and moisten his beak:
The program, the “American Freedom Tour,” is the work of a longtime motivational-speaker promoter with a trail of bankruptcy filings and business disputes across the country. A Trump adviser said very little vetting was done on the organizers.
And no one wants to talk about the fee schedule:
A spokesman for the tour, Republican media consultant Larry Ward, said the 2020 election inspired the new business venture. “The tour was inspired by a nation of disappointed voters and a love for President Donald J. Trump,” he said. Ward declined to discuss Trump’s financial deal.
Trump’s spokesman, Taylor Budowich, also declined to discuss his fees from the events.
So… who’s paying? Is this dark money being laundered?
On a Saturday morning at an arena outside Memphis, Terri Owens joined the crowd streaming in to see former president Donald Trump… Owens, a 53-year-old nurse, bought a pair of VIP tickets for $800. She wasn’t clear on where the money was going — nor did she care.
“I really wanted to do my part in contributing to where he can keep doing what he’s doing, traveling around,” Owens said. “I know he probably doesn’t need financial help by any means, but just to do my part in supporting him because I believe in what he’s doing.”
And so like lambs to fleece, the rubes of Possum Hollar line up.