For proof that Trump thinks his political supporters are a bunch of suckers to swindle, just look at how he gets them to part with their money, alternating between flattery and abuse: You’re one of the president’s finest supporters, you are told, and that’s why you personally have been selected for this opportunity to give him money — except when you’re told that you’ve let him down by not donating enough. The campaign’s apparent hope is that the recipient will crave Trump’s approval and seek it through generosity. Sometimes, the praise and shaming are deployed in concert, as in this July 14 pitch nominally sent by the president himself: “I’ve asked my team to pull the records of my BEST donors – our most loyal Patriots who I can always count on when I need them the most. I’m disappointed to say that when I asked for your file, they told me you showed up in the BOTTOM 1% of all Trump Supporters.”
Trump also frequently deploys a marketing gimmick seemingly borrowed from late-night cable infomercials, in which a bonus or a discount is promised if you open your wallet instantaneously, as he did with this appeal on Aug. 3: “I’ve decided to activate an exclusive 3-Months-Out 700%-MATCH just for YOU. This offer is only available for the NEXT HOUR.” Guilt-tripping and outsize donation matches are used in Trump’s fundraising text messages, too. In September, a Trump email promised that an “exclusive 900%-MATCH is available to you for the next hour, so don’t wait.” Just 44 minutes later, while that match would supposedly still be in effect, an email allegedly from both Trump and Vice President Pence claimed, “We’ve activated a special 800%-MATCH.” This past week, Trump again offered an 800 percent match (for just 30 minutes) when he left Walter Reed hospital.