Since losing the election, Donald Trump has raised $207 million, in a campaign ostensibly to pay for his hopeless lawsuits alleging electoral fraud. It recalls a phrase made famous a century ago, “No one ever lost money underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”
When a man loves a woman, or a woman loves a man, or when a man loves a man, and when one of the two wants to seal the relationship and the other is not sure about it, things go backwards and forwards, and there is no resolution… That is one of the human race’s eternal dramas. And this is the situation I find myself in now. With Donald Trump.
He is bombarding me with messages. I wake up in the morning, I look on my mobile and there are always, three, four, five more emails. I have already received 150 emails from Donald in the last 40 days, the time in which he has had to suffer, in his own way, the pain of having lost the election for a second term as president of the United States. I have insulted him more than once: that he is an ignoramus, an idiot, incompetent, irresponsible, a sociopath and a sick narcissist. I have said all these nasty things about him, but he is not giving up. I’m starting to suspect he’s one of those blokes where the more you abuse him, the more he wants you. “I need you, John,” he writes. “I need you right now.” He is on fire to consummate the passion he feels for me.
If I continue to have doubts it is not only because Donald seems to me a deplorable human being whose physical appearance I find repulsive. I also have my doubts because I have reason to suspect that he wants me, above all, for my money.
On the one hand, yes, he does show his affection for me. I am unique, he insists. “YOU, John, yes,” he writes, “I chose YOU.” “You, ONLY YOU, will make a DIFFERENCE.” “The future will be better ONLY WITH YOU.” But on the other hand, and in all the messages he sends me without exception, he asks me to send him five, or 10, or 15, or 20 or more dollars, as much as I can.
I do not doubt the purity of his feelings, but perhaps to put me to the test, he needs to be convinced that I am not going to play games with his fragile heart, and that I must make a serious commitment. He asks me to join his cause. And the cause is nothing less than to “defend the constitution of the United States”, to “denounce electoral fraud” and to “protect the republic against socialism” represented by his rival Joseph Biden.
Donald may interpret this as a betrayal, but partly motivated by the hope that this time, he will bloody well give up, I am going to share with the public some of the most recent messages he has sent me. A hardened salesman, he has not hesitated to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Christmas season. Ten days ago, he offered me a gift. Yes, for once, or so I thought, instead of continually asking me for something, he was going to give me something.
“John, I have an exclusive offer just for YOU. I’m giving you A FREE TRUMP GIFT so you can see how much you mean to me. This offer is for you, John, and is not to be shared.” I confess that I was moved. Is he going to change? I asked myself. Well, no. Immediately – he can’t help himself, poor man, a pity – he spoiled it. He added to the bottom of the message, in red and of course in many capital letters: “Please contribute at least $35 IMMEDIATELY and get your FREE TRUMP GIFT.”
Continuing with the festive theme, a couple of days later he offered me a calendar for the coming year, which is where his wife curiously entered the scene. “John, our amazing First Lady, Melania Trump, has personally chosen the beautiful photos for our NEW Trump calendar for 2021. She said to me, ‘Honey, I want John to have PRIORITY ACCESS so that he will be the FIRST to receive the calendar.'” Once again Donald adds that he is keeping one especially for me. “All you have to do is give me $30 and it’s yours RIGHT NOW.”
Sometimes the thought occurs to me that I may not be the only one to whom Donald sends these love letters. That perhaps all of us who filled out the form on his website during the electoral campaign in October have been receiving them. While I may have indeed been unfaithful, he must be collecting a lot of money from others. I saw on CNN last Sunday that he had amassed $207 million in donations since the vote on 3 November.
Where is the money going? In theory to help pay the legal costs of, say, the 50 lawsuits against the election results, 49 of which have been lost, scornfully tossed out by judges because of their lack of seriousness. The American press speculates that Donald is grabbing the rest. That is what I fear, but his followers, of course, do not believe it. They think it is more fake news.
Donald knows it’s fake news, and that is why an email he sent on Wednesday began as follows: “According to the lies of the Fake News Media, Biden received 15 million more votes than Obama in 2012. Is there anyone who believes that? I want you to know this is not over, John… Please contribute five dollars IMMEDIATELY…” I must confess that I have not donated a cent. Donald finds this hurtful. He has sent me half a dozen emails reproaching me for my lack of passion for him. “I see you haven’t given me anything,” he whimpers. “I can’t defend our country against the radical left without you, John.” But he is never discouraged. He does not back down. The last email I received, right now as I write, has the title, “Make Christmas Great Again.” He begs me to send him a Christmas card, plus, of course, a gift from Santa Claus, in cash.
I am becoming more convinced that I am not the only recipient of these letters, and that Donald sends them to millions of people. And that he is taking us for mugs. Of course, in many cases surely with reason. A phrase made famous a century ago in America comes to mind. “No one ever lost money underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” Donald knows his market. This is demonstrated by the extraordinary fact that 74 million people voted for him, confident that he is the best person to serve as president of their country.
Personally, I still have my doubts.
This column appeared in Clarín, Argentina, on 12 December 2020, and is translated by Kieran Tapsell.