According to a report at Politico, President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign is clamping down on donors — including those who have contributed over a million dollars — over fears that they will reveal or leak to the press discussions about campaign strategy discussed in private donor gatherings.
The report starts by noting that conservative high-rollers are relieved of their phones when attending private events so that they can’t record what is discussed.
According to Joseph Fogg III, a longtime GOP fundraiser from Florida who attended a donor conference at the Trump International Hotel in Washington last month, he had to place his phone in a locked security pouch as he entered the Presidential Ballroom only to be given access to it after hearing from Vice President Mike Pence and other top Trump officials.
“We gave $1 million last year and we still had to put our phones away,” admitted Dallas businessman Doug Deason who has held big dollar Trump fundraisers in the past.
According to Politico, “Both the Trump campaign and America First [PAC] began using the [security] pouches at donor gatherings in recent months to prevent attendees from documenting sensitive strategies that are often discussed, and to cultivate an environment where Trump and his aides feel they can speak candidly. A GOP official familiar with the move said donors were previously asked to place their phones in bins outside fundraising events, but this approach allows them to keep their phones with them.”
The drive for more security comes after the president fired three pollsters after poll results showing Trump floundering in key election battleground states were leaked to the press– forcing the president to dismiss them as “fake.”
“Along with officials at the Republican National Committee and America First, [campaign manager Brad] Parscale is determined to prevent further leaks from damaging the momentum he believes Trump possesses — even if it means blacklisting chatty high-dollar donors from events,” Politico reports.
According to Kelly Sadler, an ex-White House official who is now employed as a spokesperson for America First, “We’ve banned some donors from events who we know have spoken to the press.”
Employees at America First are also facing scrutiny for speaking out of turn or discussing closely-held information.
“When Linda [McMahon] took over in April, she addressed the group and said, ‘If there’s a leak out of this organization, you will be fired. They are damaging to the president and you better believe you will be out of this organization,’” Sadler stated, adding that the leaks have stopped since the edict came down.
As Politico notes, Sadler found herself at America First after being dismissed from the White House when it was leaked that she had made a joke about the late John McCain communications staff meeting.
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