Lunch, impeachment, and other transactions

I got my first email from the President of the United States on February 1st of this year, on the eve of his second State of the Union Address.

“Nancy & Chuck don’t want me to speak, Mainstream Media outlets don’t want me to speak, and the Hollywood Elites don’t want me to speak,” he said. “But I know, John wants me to speak.” In order to tailor his address, he asked me to take the Official State of the Union Prep Survey, which began, “Do you believe the media has painted a false image of what’s happening at our Southern Border?” He emailed again as he was about to take the podium.

When requesting tickets, months ago, to a Presidential rally that was later rescheduled, I gave the Trump organization my address. In the eight months since, I have received some 400 emails.

Not all emails written on his behalf channel the President’s voice. Some have channeled Eric Trump, Lara Trump, Melania, and Newt Gingrich. Together, the writers have wanted me to have breakfast with the President, to have dinner with him in New Orleans or Washington, to “win big,” to take polls, to buy MAGA and other merchandise, to wish Melania a happy birthday, to understand that the Democratic Party is one of “wide-open borders, 90% taxes, full-term abortion, the Green New Disaster, anti-military policies, and doing anything they can to ensure America’s failure,” and above all, to donate to the cause.

Fine print at the bottom of the emails say they were “Paid for by Trump Make America Great Again Committee, a joint fundraising committee authorized by and composed of Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. and the Republican National Committee.”

The most recent ones, sent yesterday and today, say, “The Democrats know they have no chance of winning in 2020, so now they are crying, ‘Impeachment!’ […]

“We won’t stand for this any longer, and neither should YOU. Which is why President Trump is launching the Official Impeachment Defense Task Force. This task force will be made up of only President Trump’s most LOYAL supporters, the ones committed to fighting for him, re-electing him, and taking back the House. House Democrats are holding a meeting at 4 PM EDT today to discuss their Impeachment plans and the President wants us to send him a list of every Patriot who stands with him before the meeting. To make a statement: ALL DONATIONS WILL BE DOUBLE-MATCHED.”

This email and social media campaign has raised $5 million in one day. Trump has raised $120 million for the 2020 election so far, 250 percent more than the top-funded Democratic challenger, Bernie Sanders.

John Griswold

John Griswold is a staff writer at The Common Reader. His most recent book is a collection of essays, The Age of Clear Profit: Essays on Home and the Narrow Road (UGA Press 2022). His previous collection was Pirates You Don’t Know, and Other Adventures in the Examined Life. He has also published a novel, A Democracy of Ghosts, and a narrative nonfiction book, Herrin: The Brief History of an Infamous American City. He was the founding Series Editor of Crux, a literary nonfiction book series at University of Georgia Press. His work has been included and listed as notable in Best American anthologies.