My Pen Pal, Donald Trump

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    Donald Trump usually writes me three times a week, sometimes four. I get the emailed messages through the portal used by The Progressive for press releases and such. The messages started arriving in early March. I’m not sure why. Perhaps someone signed us up as a joke.

    The emails are usually from Donald J. Trump, although sometimes it’s “” There’s an occasional missive from “Trump Headquarters.” I’ve even gotten ones from “Mike Pence” and “Eric Trump.”

    All of the messages convey a sense of urgency. Often they ask me to sign a petition; other times they ask for money. Usually it is only $1, which is less than I give the guy I see most days on the street on my way to work. (He used to be homeless, now he needs help for rent.)

    I’m not sure what Donald Trump might do with the money he wants me to give him. He doesn’t really say.

    Here’s a typical appeal:

    Screen Shot 2018-04-10 at 12.34.48 PM.png

    As much as I would like for America to be great again, I have not given him any money. But he keeps asking anyway. One recent message read:

    “The President is asking you about renewing your Sustaining Membership for 2018. After a day of INCREDIBLE news: BIG talks, INCREDIBLE jobs numbers, and a manufacturing BOOM, the President needs you to sustain our movement so we can have SEVEN MORE YEARS of greatness. The media only wants to talk about trash, but President Trump wants to talk about MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

    All of these messages are like this. Trump has a lot of things he wants to get done but it all somehow depends on my kicking in $1. Here’s how he put it:

    “We need to build the wall, stop illegal immigration, take care of our vets, drain the swamp, and go back to the days when American citizens were always put FIRST.

    But with everyone out to stop us, this isn’t the moment to stop fighting and let the swamp win.”

    I’m all for fighting against the swamp, so I tried to do what the President asked of me. I tried to give him a buck. That way, I thought, he’d be sure to keep sending these messages, which I enjoy. But when I clicked on the “CONTRIBUTE $1” button (try it for yourself), it went to a page that asks for amounts ranging from $5 to $2,700. There doesn’t seem to be any way to give just $1. Instead, I gave $5 to my guy on the street.

    President Trump, in these messages to me, is always under attack. Here’s one from early March:


    The Justice Department is SUING the state of California for violating the Constitution by passing laws that shield illegal immigrants.

    President Trump is now facing EXTREME backlash from Democrats and the fake news.”

    Wow, even when it’s Trump who’s doing the suing, he’s the victim. How #sad.

    Recently, though, Team Trump wrote me to share some “GOOD NEWS,” as the subject line stated. The email read:

    “President Trump has officially mandated that the 2020 United States Census ask people living in America whether or not they are citizens.

    But even this cheery message, which pretty much confirms that this Census question is being asked for calculated political purposes, is marred by liberal obstructionism:

    “And the sanctuary state of California is now SUING the Trump Administration to stop this commonsense order.”

    Yet Trump is standing up, as boldly as a person can, against all this pushback. Here’s what he said in one email:

    “I don’t care how many lying books they write.

    I don’t care how many witch hunts they launch.

    I will never stop fighting for you. I will never let them silence you. Nothing will distract us from our agenda. Nothing can yank us down into the gutters with the fake news tabloids disguised as the “mainstream media.”

    What a guy.

    Recently, the President sent me a shocker:

    Let me be clear. Since Day One, this witch hunt has never been about me.

    Their target is you.

    The swamp doesn’t want you to take your country back, and they will fight to the bitter end to stop you.

    Wow. I had no idea I was that important—in fact, that I was center stage in the only known drama involving Donald Trump that wasn’t, to his mind, about Donald Trump. And, dear man, the only thing he asked of me was to give him $1.

    The messages from Mike Pence and Eric Trump seem indistinguishable from those that come from the President and his campaign. (“No one is better at embarrassing the FAKE NEWS media than the “journalists” themselves,” Eric wrote, before trying to bum a buck from me.)

    These guys are all on the same page, united against two common foes: Democrats and fake news. Like the message that screamed:

    “President Trump has been president for 413 days -- and HALF of his nominees have not been confirmed because of Senate Democrat obstructionists.

    The message went on:

    “This is OUTRAGEOUS. Democrats think they can govern by hijacking, sabotaging, and subverting the will of the people. It’s time for YOU to fight back.”

    I found this perplexing. Both houses of Congress are controlled by Republicans and the filibuster is no longer used to block nominations. That means every last one of the Trump’s nominees can be confirmed without a single Democrat voting in support. In fact, Trump has left more key positions unfilled through his own inaction that any other President in decades.

    I replied to this email, asking about this, but didn’t hear back. The President is a very busy man. And I don’t want to press the point with him because I know that his feelings are easily hurt. He’s even hurt about my failure to contribute, as this message shows:


    JOBS, the BORDER, National SECURITY, BIG TALKS, and American MANUFACTURING - we are getting it done. But I see that your name is no longer on my list of official Sustaining Members. Friend, can I count on you to sustain our movement for 2018?”

    That one asked for $35 to “RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP.” But it also said I could, if I wanted, just give a buck.

    Bill Lueders is managing editor of The Progressive.

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