DETROIT — A New York man charged in a series of acts of threatening violence searched online for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the location of gun stores in the days leading up to the U.S. Capitol insurrection, according to federal court records. Jonathan Joshua Munafo, 34, of Albany was arrested and charged with communicating an interstate threat in the latest case alleging extremism in Michigan. The case was unsealed Friday, six months after the FBI said agents thwarted a plot to kidnap and kill Whitmer involving at least 14 people who are facing state and federal charges. FBI Special Agent Rich...
Meet the Trump fan and Heritage Foundation stooge leading the racist, red-baiting assault on American education
The attacks on "critical race theory" over these last nine months have sought to silence any critical focus on racism today, on structures, institutions, systems, acts and people deemed racist, and to reshape historical memory regarding race to this end.
Christopher Rufo has become the poster boy for these attacks, their driving force. He wasn't the only one, or even the initially intended operative to lead the charge. The Heritage Foundation promoted the initiative, with numerous of its agents — or agents provocateurs — assuming the task. Jonathan Butcher and Mike Gonzalez were the other two designated with Rufo for the work. Gonzalez published a book, "The Plot to Change America," targeting identity politics, centering terms Rufo would later mobilize to attack CRT.
Heritage fashioned a twin state-focused political strategy designed to support the conservative resurrection and return to power: the broadside against progressive anti-racism, and the neutral-looking campaign to limit access to voting by people of color, the poor and youth. The work to restrict voting has been led, more quietly, by Heritage Action (a Heritage spinoff in 2010), which has developed a template for state voting restrictions, helping to write the proliferating state legislation.
Butcher, Gonzalez and Rufo published hit pieces on the Heritage website and elsewhere, such as Manhattan Institute's City Journal. None is trained as a lawyer, or indeed in any field specializing in studies of race. To their credit, they have picked up CRT along the way, the untrained eyes seeing what the trained one has not (intended), reconfirming the sighted UFO in consultation with each other.
Rufo has gained the most traction in going after CRT. He took it on as his crusade. Acting as the crusade's voice is now his full-time employment, perhaps even — like a typecast Hollywood actor — his employability. While claiming that "CRT is everywhere," he is the one who actually is on Fox News repeatedly, where Donald Trump saw him interviewed last November and immediately gave Rufo a national platform. (From March onwards, Fox News has mentioned CRT nearly 2,000 times, 700 of those in June alone.) Rufo is the Trumpeter of anti-anti-racist agitation. So much so that his Twitter handle is @realchrisrufo — a close echo of the former president's former Twitter handle — his platform also for fundraising.
In taking on the Trumpian mantle, make-believe is the name of the game. And, as with the notorious propagandists from which he clearly has drawn influence, fabrication is at the heart of Rufo's real crusade. He has been well-prepared, having worked previously at the Discovery Institute, best known for its creationist and anti-evolution science denial.
What, then, has RealChrisRufo (RCR) "seen"? There are many sites and sightings from which to draw. So it is best to hew closely to RCR's own definitive statements on CRT, summarized in an 18-minute YouTube video he produced and in which he serves as the driving voice. It is effective agitprop, superficially slick, quick in claim and pace. His talking head is intercut with found images and computational graphics. But Rufo's public façade of earnest sincerity is belied by his extraordinary intellectual dishonesty. The video is aimed at framing CRT in completely misleading historical, intellectual and political terms. It dramatically overgeneralizes, operating through innuendo and mischaracterization. It is as revealing in what is omitted as stated. He engages in diverting decontextualization and complete misrepresentation.
"CRT," Rufo declares at the outset, is "the new orthodoxy in America's public institutions." Really? Only because he says so and is mimicked loudly by his followers in the media and at school board meetings, finding it under every rock. Walking into schools, onto campuses, you'd search in vain turning up CRT anywhere other than in specialist college classes. That the embarrassing examples of CRT the critics identify are invariably traceable only to their proclamation should give pause about their authenticity and plausibility.
If "Most Americans have no idea where [CRT] comes from or the society it envisions," it is left to Rufo to show us that it is around every corner, "why it is a threat to the country, and most importantly show [us] how you can fight it." Believing, it turns out, is "seeing."
CRT, in the Rufoist reading, began as an attempt to update Marxism. It supposedly inherited its structure of thinking from the "neo-Marxists" of critical theory — he identifies Herbert Marcuse, Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer and Walter Benjamin. Realizing in the 1960s "the actual failures" of Marxist "brutality," RCR insists that "the critical theorists abandoned the old economic dialectic of bourgeois and proletariat and replaced it with a new racial dialectic of white and black."
There are three related embarrassments to this vision. First, the only driving influences on CRT apparently are white German Jewish men. No Black, brown, Asian or women intellectual forerunners, American or globally, nor any non-Jewish whites. This is 1950s American anti-communism redux.
Second, Adorno, Horkheimer and Benjamin restricted to antisemitism what little discussion they devoted to racism. This is perhaps understandable, given their own experiences. Hannah Arendt is one notable exception here.
Third, in "Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings That Formed the Movement," a reader collecting all the original seminal articles and edited by for of the intellectual movement's principal founders, there are almost 1,500 footnotes (law articles are notoriously well-documented). There is not a single reference to Adorno, Horkheimer, Benjamin or Marcuse. There are more references to Black conservative economist and political commentator Thomas Sowell and former Vice President Hubert Humphrey (one each) than to Karl Marx. The references in the volume are overwhelmingly to U.S. legal cases, followed by the long tradition of Black American thinkers.
The obvious rejoinder will be that the "neo-Marxist" influence is implicit, known to the initiated; the unprovable parading as given. "Critical," however, etymologically means the capacity to judge the truth or merit of the object of analysis. Rufo-inspired CRT criticisms exhibit none of these qualities.
Rufo quickly broadens his target. CRT, he says, "is usually deployed under a series of euphemisms, such as equity, social justice, diversity and inclusion, and socially responsive teaching." There is an obvious political strategy at work here: Renew the longstanding conservative hysteria over Marxism and communism by misreading CRT as substitutes for its terms. The goal is to set fire to the contemporary shift in American politics regarding race and racism unfolding since the George Floyd murder and BLM-inspired protests over a year ago.
This past March, @RealChrisRufo was explicit about this strategy of fabrication on Twitter (it's almost as if tweets are the medium of the political unconscious today). He later added, "I basically took that body of criticism ... and made it political. Turned it into a salient political issue with a clear villain."
The result is Campus Watch for schools, effectively Dinesh D'Souza 2.0 — a venomous brew. This is the lesson plan for the self-appointed thought police. While schools have been the principal targets, colleges and universities are now on the radar too. Critical Race Training in Education is a watchdog-style website recently established by Cornell law professor William A. Jacobson, with two younger activists, who together run the Legal Insurrection Foundation. Drawing calculatingly on the Rufoistic misreadings, they report on "more than 300 colleges and universities" nationwide for their training in CRT and antiracism (though courses in critical theory with no focus on racism are making the list too). The aim seems to warn "parents" away from sending their children to such institutions, including Jacobson's own, and by implication to pressure the institutions to restrict CRT-related courses. This is cancel culture with a vengeance.
Rufoists never engage in sustained textual analysis of CRT. They usually refer misleadingly to an idea or sentence from the far wider, much less coherent body of critical work in the human sciences that I shorthand as critical race studies. The two most often dismissed by Rufoists are "critical race guru" Ibram X. Kendi and Robin DiAngelo, who are about as different in critical commitments, assumptions and arguments as they could be. Kendi has repeatedly insisted he is no CRTer. He sometimes expresses ideas that CRT advocates would reject as unworkable or incoherent, just as some diversity training programs are embarrassingly counterproductive. But they are ideas for critical discussion, not incendiary devices to end the Republic. DiAngelo's discussion of "white fragility" is not a position readily identified with CRT. Her reading of structural racism offers countering proposals that rely on personal, individual responses, leaving the structural conditions untouched. She is definitively no Marxist, neo- or otherwise.
All this matters to the Rufoists as much as schools insisting they do not teach CRT. CRT is now the operative target in almost exactly the ways "Marxism," "communism," "socialism" and "liberalism" have been in the past. The Goldwater Institute, for which Heritage's Butcher once worked, includes Howard Zinn's "A People's History of America" under its CRT catchphrase, a text among others to be banned from school curricula. Zinn's classic work was first published in 1980, before CRT was even named, or even a thing!
Rufo has also composed a CRT "Briefing Book," a handbook for cultural combat. It serves for anti-CRT combat much like Israel's Hasbara Handbook for Promoting Israel on Campus, the principal aim of which is "to influence public opinion." Indeed, a Rufoist offshoot organization, Citizens for Renewing America, offers "model schoolboard language to prohibit CRT" alongside a "toolkit" to "combat CRT in your community," much as Heritage Action provides model legislation to restrict state voting rights.
What, then, is "racial Rufoism"? It is a political strategy aiming to provide tools for whitewashing race and racism as the undiscussables of American politics, culture, education. It is a "redprint" for silencing any critical racial narrative. As American demography has become a lost conservative battle — within the next quarter-century the U.S., as California does already, will have no racial majority — the war has shifted. Who controls the levers of power? And who controls dominant cultural representation — here, the racial story that the country dominantly tells about itself? The fight over historical memory, as Nikole Hannah-Jones has aptly characterized the conservative attacks on the 1619 Project, is not just how to understand the American past. It seeks to establish the grounds for more or less full belonging to the society, the terms and conditions for being an American and staying ahead today.
Here a Tennessee school district experience exemplifies wider patterns across the country. A parent insisted that the account of Ruby Bridges, as the first Black student to integrate New Orleans schools in 1960, is hurtful to white schoolkids. Bridges' account describes a "large crowd of angry white people who didn't want Black children in a white school." The parent insisted it failed to offer "redemption" for today's white children. She also objected to another book about school segregation, expressing disapproval of teaching words like "injustice" and "inequality" in "grammar lessons." A clip of Ruby Bridges' chilling experience shows a six-year-old girl being screamed at by a crowd of angry white people spitting and cursing at her. No white redemption on offer here.
"Racial Rufoism" is obviously about denying structural or systemic racism, reducing racism solely to "individual bad apples." But it is even more about whitewashing race and racism, seeking to relieve white people today of any responsibility not just about the past — slavery, segregation, Jim Crow, lynchings — but equally for their inherited impact today. This is exemplified in the all too easy resort by Rufoists to the MLK exhortation to "not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." One only has to read or hear the rest of King's historic "I Have a Dream" speech to know he offered this as aspirational. He embedded it within an insistence that its realization is dependent on first addressing the structural and systemic racism still shaping this country. Rufoism provides a way for beneficiaries of whiteness to abrogate any responsibility for expanding racial differentials in wealth, property values, employability, educational resources and access, health disparities and voting rights restrictions. Racial Rufoism provides racial deniability its fuel and rationalizing cover.
We are seeing, nevertheless, the stirrings of a more assertive critical counter to Rufoism. Because of the non-whitewashed history students are being provided in the Tennessee school district mentioned above, "teachers are reporting ... that our students are reading like they've never read before." The assistant superintendent added, "I've received a flood of emails recently that said, 'Don't do anything with the curriculum. My kid's loving it'."
Rufoist whitewashing is not just censorious, sloppy and misdirecting. It may make for effective propaganda in the homogeneous circles in which it circulates, but it amounts to boring, unappealing, tuned-out pedagogy in schools and colleges alike. Rufoism is critical only in that other, fast failing sense. The Rufoists see a future that for all but themselves — and perhaps even for themselves — is no future at all.
'Vanilla ISIS': Terrorism expert breaks down the nightmarish fantasies shared by white nationalists and Islamic extremists
Contrary to what many observers have suggested, Donald Trump's attack force that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was not really a "mob." At its core was a group of terrorists who wanted to kill members of Congress they deemed to be Trump's enemies, with the goal of nullifying the results of the 2020 presidential election. They may have come close to achieving that objective.
Likewise, as new "revelations" have shown, Trump and his allies came closer to overthrowing democracy than many among the country's political class (and the public at large) would like to accept. The danger has not ended; the Republican coup attempt is ongoing.
To describe Trump's attack force as "terrorists" is better and more accurate language, but still lacks precision. What kind of terrorists were they? As Robert P. Jones, one of America's foremost experts on religion and politics, recently told Salon, a significant number of the attackers on Jan. 6 were Christian nationalists and white supremacists:
It was remarkable to me. There were Bibles, there were crosses, there were Bible verses on signs. There were flags that said things such as, "Trump is my president, Jesus is my savior." There were shofars being blown, not by Jews but by Christians, who were convinced they were fulfilling some prophecy by bringing Trump into office.
Perhaps the image that stuck with me the most is that there was a fair amount of attention being paid to the Confederate battle flag being marched through the Capitol building. But what did not get enough attention is that there was also the Christian flag. Many people may not be familiar with it. That flag was being marched right into the House chamber along with the Confederate flag. They were all there. There was also a big white cross being carried up the steps along with all those other banners.
I am not quite sure that the American people as a whole really understand what the coexistence of all those symbols really means. The insurrectionists are telling us who they are. They very deliberately chose those symbols. They wore them on their clothes. These were white supremacists. These were Christians. Those two groups were not fighting each other. They were marching side by side.
In an important new essay for Vanity Fair on Christian nationalism and its links to the events of Jan. 6, Jeff Sharlet describes the Christian symbols noted by constitutional attorney Andrew Seidel, author of "The Founding Myth: Why Christian Nationalism is Un-American":
He notes the "Jericho Marchers" who blew shofars (a ram's horn of symbolic meaning in Judaism, appropriated by Christian nationalists) around the Capitol on January 5 in a reenactment of the holy conquest depicted in the Book of Joshua; the "openly militant prayer" by evangelist and Trump official Paula White that preceded Trump's speech the next morning, in which she called for "holy boldness" in "overturning" the enemies of Trump; the writings on that gallows erected outside the Capitol: "In God We Trust," "God Bless the USA," and "amen"; Michael Sparks, the first man to breach the Capitol, who did so "in JESUS NAME," by his own account; the dozens of insurrectionists, several of them armed, who sought to sanctify the Senate chamber with a prayer to Jesus that included thanks "for allowing us to get rid of the communists, the globalists, and the traitors within our government."
In his testimony last Tuesday before the House select committee on the events of Jan. 6, Washington, D.C., police officer Daniel Hodges shared his personal experience with Trump's attack force and their extremism, violence and zealotry.
"I saw the Christian flag directly to my front," Hodges said. "Another read, 'Jesus is my savior, Trump is my president.' … Another, 'Jesus is king' …. "Even during this intense contest of wills, they sought to convert us to their cult. One man shouted, 'We all just want to make our voices heard, and I think you feel the same. I really think you feel the same.'"
Hodges also told the committee, "It was clear the terrorists perceive themselves to be Christians, … One of them came up to me and said, 'Are you my brother?'" Hodges also described the battle at the Capitol on Jan. 6 as a "white nationalist insurrection."
Ultimately, the attack on the Capitol, like Trump's neofascist movement more generally, was part of a white supremacist, Christian nationalist holy war against America's multiracial democracy, secular society, pluralism, the Constitution and the rule of law. Trumpists truly believe themselves to be a on a mission for God.
Many observers have described white right-wing militant Christian extremists and other Trump-led and inspired neofascist terrorists as "Vanilla ISIS" or "White ISIS," a mirror version of Islamic extremism.
That's a striking turn of phrase, but is the description accurate? Does it obscure more than it reveals? What specifically do white supremacist and other right-wing terror movements have in common with the most militant forms of Islam? How are they different?
In an attempt to answer these questions, I recently spoke with Sara Kamali, a senior fellow at the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right and author of the new book "Homegrown Hate: Why White Nationalists and Militant Islamists Are Waging War against the United States."
In this conversation Kamali explains how the events of Jan. 6 must be understood within a broader context of the history of white nationalism and white supremacist violence in the United States. She explains that white supremacists and other right-wing terrorists share a common fantasy and motivation with militant Islamists, such as a desire to overthrow the existing social order and to return to a fictive "golden age" when people like them ruled uncontested.
Kamali also highlights how white supremacists and Christian nationalists (two groups with significant overlap) as well as militant Islamists create and then elevate "martyrs" as a means of justifying further violence in service to their cause. She concludes by warning that white nationalism is a grave threat to the future of American democracy and the country's stability, prosperity and society more broadly.
Given all that is happening — with the aftermath of Jan. 6, ascendant neofascism, right-wing terrorism and violence and the assault on the democracy and pluralistic society — how are you feeling?
It is through conversations such as this that we will be able to bring more attention to problems that we as a country have struggled with since its founding. Jan. 6 must be understood within the larger context of white nationalism and systemic racism. For example, the continual struggles with voting rights are all part of this larger context as well.
Why were so many people who should have known better — the "professional smart people" and other public voices — shocked by the events of Jan. 6? That day was a celebration of a particular type of "white freedom" which is a running theme in American history.
I am not frustrated per se, but more disheartened. It is unfortunate that matters had to get so bad as seen on Jan. 6 in order to have these types of public conversations. We have been struggling with white supremacy, specifically, and white nationalism broadly — and, indeed, struggling for human rights — for decades and centuries in this country.
Given your expertise, what did you see in the events of Jan. 6?
I said to myself, "So this is when it happens." A year or so ago I warned on Twitter that the 2020 would involve political violence. It was all a matter of when, not if. I was actually surprised that the violence on Jan. 6 was not worse. For example, there were bombs found in the vicinity of the Capitol building, but there was no mass shooting involved in the insurrection attack. On Jan. 6, I saw a manifestation and culmination of not only four years of Donald Trump's presidency, but of centuries of minimizing white nationalist violence in the United States. It was also an example of what happens when the full context of white privilege is not addressed in our society, and when the respect and dignity that should be afforded to people of color are also consistently denied.
Why do so many reporters continue to describe Trump's attack force as a "mob"? The events that day were premeditated. "Mob" implies something spontaneous. It is another example of these dangerous assumptions about white racial innocence.
If someone understands American history, then your use of "attack force" makes sense as a way of describing the insurrectionists on Jan. 6. However, if a person is denying the realities of systemic racism itself, let alone the interlocking systems that reproduce and reify racism, then they will not understand why the differences between "insurrection," "attack force," "mob" and "riot" will be important to understanding the full scope of what happened on Jan. 6.
I see Jan. 6 as a victory for the white supremacist movement in this country and the global right more generally. On that day the deranged fantasies of "The Turner Diaries" became real. The white supremacist movement also dreamed of a president like Donald Trump and the likes of Stephen Miller making public policy. On Jan. 6, neo-Confederates and other white supremacists, including Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members, overran the Capitol — and for the most part did it without suffering serious consequences or even substantial physical risk that day.
Certainly, Jan. 6 was a battle in the war to establish a white ethnostate in America. Donald Trump's presidency was blatantly endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan's newspaper, The Crusader. The events of Jan. 6th and Donald Trump's presidency, more generally, were not just a backlash against President Barack Obama's skin color. They were also part of a larger pronouncement of just how deeply entrenched white nationalism is in this country.
In simple terms, how do you explain the difference between "white supremacy" and "white nationalism"?
White supremacy is the belief that there is a white race specifically. It is also the belief in the biological, cultural and/or divine superiority of the white race. White nationalism is the political goal of white supremacy, which calls for the establishment of a white ethnostate. In accordance with this goal, people of color would be subject to genocide, extermination or segregation and subjugation.
What kinds of stories that white supremacists tell themselves about the world? How does their imaginary world cohere?
Their narrative of victimhood is based on the understanding that people of color are perpetrating violence against the white race and are a threat to the biological, cultural and religious superiority of the white race. It is also because of this notion of white supremacy, because white people believe themselves to be superior, that violence against people of color is warranted to protect the sanctity of the white race.
The same narrative of victimhood also upholds the notion that women, Jews, Muslims and, in many instances, queer Americans are also viewed as threats to the white race. "Traditional" hierarchies of gender and sexuality are often upheld within the white nationalist worldview.
Donald Trump and other leaders of the neofascist movement are now encouraging more terrorism by creating a narrative that those who "sacrifice" themselves for "the cause" are martyrs and heroes. Isn't this similar to how militant Islamists recruit terrorists and suicide bombers?
Within both ideologies, martyrs are not only lauded but their perceived sacrifices are understood as legitimating violence, because it strengthens the narrative of needing to "defend" their respective perspectives and communities.
The martyr is thus a hero and a target from the respective points of view of both white nationalists and militant Islamists. For example, Timothy McVeigh, the co-conspirator of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the deadliest terrorist attack to date by an American on U.S. soil, has long been portrayed and perceived as a martyr by many white nationalists specifically and by those within the political far right, more broadly. So too are David Lane, LaVoy Finicum and Ashli Babbitt, all of whom represent different facets and time periods of white nationalism in the U.S.
Martyrdom is often most associated with militant Islamism. While that's true, in the American context, martyrdom is also aligned with the many religions that directly support or that are expressed as supporting white nationalism, including Wotanism, militant Mormonism and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
There is also the overlap of fighting to recreate some type of "glorious" past.
For white nationalists, there is a desire to return to the glory days of an imagined past of White America where the founders were divinely inspired to establish the United States. For areas of the world where there is a similar belief in the inherent right for the white race to establish a white ethnostate, like in parts of Europe and Australasia, there is a similar looking back to the past.
Militant Islamists desire the glorious past as they interpret it to have existed during the time of the Prophet Muhammad. What is complicated about this is that many Muslims around the world — the majority of the 2 billion Muslims around the world who are not militant — similarly look back to the same period of history with the desire to emulate it. The difference lies in their understanding of the history itself and how to implement it in the present-day context.
To draw direct parallels between white nationalists and militant Islamists, the white nationalists draw on that imagined past as inspiration for a white ethnostate. The militant Islamists want to create a global caliphate. Both ideologies, which on the surface are seemingly quite disparate from one another, essentially utilize similar imagery from the "past."
What about the overlap between militant Islamists and many white supremacists and other members of the far right who share fantasies of an apocalypse, after which comes the rebirth of a new society?
Essentially, even though militant Islamists and white nationalists see themselves as enemies, they both support respective visions of ultimate and/or divine triumph. Imagining a final, favorable outcome is the driver and end point for many religions and beliefs within the complex constellation of white nationalism and also within militant Islamism. As pointed to earlier when discussing martyrs and martyrdom, the "end times" also play a prominent role within both ideologies. For example, not just in white nationalist evangelicalism or militant Mormonism, but also Christian Identity, Creativity, Wotanism and Odinism. And even for those on the far right who identify as agnostic or atheist, or with the label "nones," the final triumph of the white race is similarly motivating.
Because of the post-9/11 security paradigm, militant Islamism is most associated with apocalypticism, as with the black flags of Islamic State, for example, and end-times prophecies of great battles and a showdown between good and evil within Islam. That is understood by militant Islamism to result in triumph for an exclusive set of the righteous.
As I detail in "Homegrown Hate," not only does an understanding of the apocalypse play a large role within white nationalism, so, too, does Jesus. There are many parallels and points of overlap between white nationalism and militant Islamism that are important to understand in order to address them as worldviews, rather than dismiss them.
What are the lessons of Jan 6. and white nationalism in the larger context of American history?
The Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, and on democracy itself, was not a surprise. It must be a lesson in acknowledging, confronting and redressing the systemic and systematic denials of white nationalism and racism, and injustice to Americans of color. Since the founding of the United States, certain human beings have been marginalized and denied the rights afforded to them as human beings. "We the People" has been applied to a select group of people.
White nationalism was minimized, even though it was always present. It is more than a security threat — it is a threat to the social stability, economic prosperity and democracy of the United States. It is a threat to equal rights, to equity, to human rights and to environmental justice.
According to a report from the Guardian, financial information released by political action committees (PACs) linked to Donald Trump are being scrutinized by critics and legal experts alike who see evidence that the former president may be engaged in fraud as he amasses millions of dollars.
As the Guardian's Peter Stone writes, Trump has "has built an arsenal of political committees and nonprofit groups, staffed with dozens of ex-administration officials and loyalists" who are now using his election loss to rake in millions for the purported reason of contesting his loss in the courts, yet there are few dollars being spent on lawyers and a lot of questions about what the money is being used for.
Focusing on Trump's "Save America" PAC, the report states, it "had raised a whopping $31.5m by year's end, but Save America spent nothing on legal expenses in this same period, according to public records. Run by Trump's 2016 campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, Save America only spent $340,000 on fundraising expenses last year."
Additionally, Trump is now touting a lawsuit --and asking for donations to finance it -- against Facebook, Google and Twitter which experts claim looks like another fundraising "ploy" which is leading to even more questions.
According to Paul S. Ryan, vice-president of policy and litigation with Common Cause, "Donald Trump is a one-man scam Pac. Bait-and-switch is among his favorite fundraising tactics. This time he's got the unlimited dark money group America First Policy Institute in on the racket."
Adav Noti, a former associate general counsel at the Federal Election Commission, concurred, explaining, "The president deceived his donors. He asked them to give money so he could contest the election results, but then he spent their contributions to pay off unrelated debts," before adding, "That's dangerously close to fraud. If a regular charity – or an individual who didn't happen to be president of the United States – had raised tens of millions of dollars through that sort of deception, they would face a serious risk of prosecution."
With the Guardian's Stone writing, "Veteran campaign finance analysts say that the bevy of Trump-linked groups launched since his defeat raise new questions about his motives and political intentions," Sheila Krumholz, who leads the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics added, "Trump's aggressive fundraising, using a variety of committees and surrogates, raises questions about whether his continual hints at running in 2024 is primarily a ploy for donations. Trump may be more interested in fundraising than actually running, especially given how unprecedented his post-loss fundraising is."
You can read more here.
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