A Trump-loving Texas construction company CEO — whose father received a pardon from the former president — has been among the top donors to the Canadian "freedom convoy" on the fundraising site GiveSendGo, according to reports.
Benjamin Pogue of McKinney, Texas, the president and CEO of Pogue Construction, donated more than $385,000 to Trump's re-election campaign in 2020, Business Insider reported Wednesday. Pogue's contributions included providing the former president with the use of Pogue's own private jet, the Associated Press reported.
On Sunday, hackers leaked the names of more than 92,000 people who contributed to the anti-vaxx, anti-government freedom convoy through GiveSendGo, a Christian crowdfunding site, which helped raise $8.7 million for the protest.
“My personal contribution reflected my respect for individuals who were willing to take the time and effort to make their voices heard,” Pogue said in a statement to news media, according to the Dallas Morning News. “It is not an endorsement of any illegal activity. Hopefully, the issue is on its way to a peaceful resolution.”
According to the Morning News, following Pogue's contributions to Trump's campaign in 2020, the former president granted a pardon to his father, Paul Pogue.
Paul Pogue, who founded Pogue Construction Company in 1978, pleaded guilty in 2010 to underpaying taxes by more than $400,000 and was sentenced to three years in prison.
Business Insider noted that the freedom convoy "has been linked to Trump supporters in multiple instances."
"Several news outlets have posted photos of the protest that include hats and signs referencing Trump and the slogan 'Make Canada Great Again,'" the report notes. "Local news reported that during the first week of the protests a man was seen riding through the protesters on horseback, carrying a 'Trump 2024' flag."
Trump himself expressed support for the freedom convoy in a statement, saying the protesters were "doing more to defend American freedom than our own leaders by far."
The leaked data from GiveSendGo showed that more than half of donations came from the U.S.
"Also included in the leaked data were the messages that some donors posted alongside their donations," Vice News reported. "The messages contained over 13,000 references to 'God' or 'Jesus' as well as thousands of references to 'tyranny.' While most of the users’ messages were relatively benign, there are a number of more troubling posts, like this from one user: 'I look forward to the day you tyrants are swinging from a noose.'"