Trump Campaign Unveils Harsh Punishments For His Rich Donors

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President Donald Trump just recently hosted an official public launch of his re-election campaign, but it’s been running for some time at this point — and according to POLITICO, undertaking drastic steps to try and stop internal information from being leaked to the press. At events for donors, even those who have given millions of dollars have been asked to not just put their phones away but lock them up until the events are over. Ironically, one could say that the media only knows about this strategy because of leaks it’s meant to avoid, although people went on the record to discuss the issue.

Having people ditch their phones when hearing from the president or one of his closest associates like Vice President Mike Pence serves as a way to “protect the president from himself,” as the publication puts it, quoting an unnamed Republican close to the White House who said that when meeting with donors, Trump’s general behavior makes him vulnerable to a “Mitt Romney moment.” Shortly before facing Barack Obama in the general election in 2012, then-Republican presidential nominee Romney privately told donors that “47 percent of Americans would automatically vote for the incumbent Democrat because they did not take responsibility for their lives or pay income taxes.”

Of course, it’s not as though efforts to stop these kinds of remarks from the president from getting out could be considered much besides a fool’s errand. Just check his personal Twitter feed — he’s got plenty of contentious outlandish behavior for concerned observers to chew on without even a second of video captured at any private event with donors.

Still, Trump has a definite history facing leaks and subsequently freaking out about them. Some particularly reputation-damaging ones have included the recent share of internal polling data from the Trump campaign that showed him significantly behind leading Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden in numerous states in a hypothetical general election match-up. He’s also faced issues like the revelation of more than half of his scheduled time across three months going towards unstructured “executive time.”

Publicly, following one particularly high-profile leak of a comment from a now former White House official who dismissed the late Sen. John McCain’s relevance because he was at the time suffering from a terminal illness, the president denounced leakers as “traitors and cowards.” Behind the scenes, the same kind of strategies that the Trump campaign has rolled out targeting donors have previously been used against White House staffers, who were banned¬†from bringing their personal smartphones into work altogether. Months after that, CNN revealed the administration brought in a team to scour the West Wing for such devices with handheld detectors.

These days, the harsh eye towards preventing possible leaks has also taken over a leading pro-Trump super PAC America First. That organization’s spokeswoman Kelly Sadler has shared that they’ve banned some donors from events after they spoke to the press, and following now former Small Business Administration head Linda McMahon taking over, staff have been “warned that the mere suspicion of leaking will cost them their jobs,” POLITICO explains.

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