Trump Held a Contest for Donors to Dine With Him, But No One Won - Rolling Stone
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Trump Held a Contest for Small-Dollar Donors to Have Dinner With Him. No One Won

The former president has used a variety of shady tactics to raise money, including holding dubious promotions to meet him

Former President Donald Trump, acknowledges supports after speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)Former President Donald Trump, acknowledges supports after speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Former President Donald Trump acknowledges supporters after speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022, in Orlando, Fla.

John Raoux/AP

Former President Donald Trump in recent weeks asked his supporters for money as part of a promotion to eat dinner with him in New Orleans last Saturday. The only problem was that no one actually got to eat dinner with Trump, The Washington Post reported Friday, citing four people familiar with the matter.

A series of email pitches to small-dollar donors offered up what any loyal Trump supporter would undoubtedly appreciate. “We’ll cover your flight. We’ll cover your very nice hotel. We’ll cover your dinner,” one email read. “All you have to do is enter.

It’s unclear how much money the pitches raised for Save America PAC, the former president’s political action committee, or how many people donated. But similar contests brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars, people involved with them told the Post. A Trump spokesperson chalked up the lack of a winner in this contest to an “administrative error.”

“President Trump has awarded more than 100 prizes to contest winners across America, but due to an administrative error in this individual circumstance, the contest winner was not properly notified for last weekend’s event in New Orleans,” Taylor Budowich told the Post. “Consistent with the rules of the sweepstakes, a substitute prize will be awarded to the winner.”

Budowich didn’t specify what this substitute prize would be. According to Save America PAC, the value of the original prize is about $3,000.

Trump on Saturday released a statement calling the Post’s report “Fake News,” writing that a winner “WAS” chosen and that they and their family “will soon be coming to Palm Beach, Florida.”

It’s certainly possible an “administrative error” is responsible, as Budowich claimed, but this also isn’t the first time this has happened. The Post‘s story echoes a 2019 report by Popular Information which found that Trump’s campaign held at least 15 online contests for a chance to win a meal with him — but no one appeared to have actually done so. (Trump’s communications director claimed then that “people win the contests each time,” yet didn’t offer proof.)

Trump’s shady fundraising tactics don’t end there. He and the Republican Party were forced to refund millions of dollars they acquired last year through deceptive email blasts, specifically by having donors unwittingly opt in to recurring payments. The recurring donation box was pre-checked earlier this week, as well, when Save America PAC solicited supporters to fund a new private plane for the former president.

“Do you remember Trump Force One?” the pitch read. “Before becoming the greatest President of all time, I traveled the Country in my plane, known as Trump Force One. I have a very important update on my plane but I need to trust that you won’t share it with anyone: my team is building a BRAND NEW Trump Force One.”

The email blast came shortly after it was reported that Trump’s flight out of New Orleans on Saturday was forced to make an emergency landing.

In This Article: Donald Trump


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