While some of former president Donald Trump's supporters simply "hate America," others can be described as "victims," according to Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist David Cay Johnston.
Johnston appeared on MSNBC on Tuesday to discuss his new book, The Big Cheat: How Donald Trump Fleeced America and Enriched Himself and His Family. In the book, Johnston calculated that $1.7 billion in revenue flowed through Trump and his organizations during his four years as commander-in-chief.
MSNBC host Jason Johnson asked Johnston whether those who are still giving money to Trump should be considered "victims" or "volunteers."
"I figure at this point, if you're getting fleeced by Donald Trump, there's but so many times somebody can send you an email that says: 'I'm a prince in a foreign country. Please send me 20,000.' If you fall for it three times, don't you almost deserve it?" the MSNBC host asked.
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Johnston responded with a specific example.
"There certainly are people I describe in the book who are victims, like a dying man who sent $500, half of his income for the month, and then the Trump campaign tapped his bank account until they drained it, and they did this to many, many, many people," Johnston said.
He added that many of Trump's supporters "have simply come to hate America" and are "very unhappy," pointing to the fact that the bottom 90 percent of Americans had a smaller income in 2019 than in 1973.
"So a lot of people are really unhappy about the conditions in America, and they see Donald as their savior, even though he has no capacity to do that," Johnston said. "He's really out just to line his pockets, his family's pockets, and in his administration, encourage others, including two cabinet secretaries I write about, to use the government to enrich themselves and their families, rather than serving the public in a position of trust."
Johnston said the goal of the book is tying together "loose threads" of news reports from Trump's presidency to "create a tapestry" that allows people to see "how they were doing this, what they were doing, why it's inimical to your interests, and most importantly ... there are actually solutions to this that I lay out."
"Since Donald Trump left office, it's very clear that what he's doing is he's become America's beggar in chief," Johnston added. "That's how he makes his living, and he's going to need a lot of it once he's indicted to pay criminal defense lawyers."
David Cay Johnston on MSNBC www.youtube.com