Donald Trump with stacks of dollar bills

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$355 million GoFundMe to pay Trump’s civil fraud fine trolled with fake donations—in anticipation of it getting removed

But it also raised nearly a half-million.


Katherine Huggins


Posted on Feb 19, 2024

A GoFundMe seeking to raise $355 million to pay for the fine imposed in the New York state civil fraud case against former President Donald Trump has raised $434,000 across 8,800 donors as of Monday.

The fundraiser—organized by real estate investor Elena Cardone, the wife of entrepreneur Grant Cardone—comes in the wake of Judge Arthur Engoron’s fine and ban on Trump doing business in New York for three years.

“The fact that a business owner did a loan with a bank, never defaulted, nor missed a payment, pays back the loan with interest and caused no financial damage to anyone, yet, the government overreaches and slaps a business owner with a $355M ruling should terrify all business owners and entrepreneurs,” Elena Cardone wrote on the fundraiser’s description. “Is this Government seizing assets? Seeking financial ruin?”

“This is more than a legal fund; it’s a call to all business owners and entrepreneurs to rally in defense of all businesses and for man who has never hesitated to stand in defense of us,” she added.

The fundraiser has divided the internet with critics rebuking the fundraiser as a “grift,” and conservatives applauding the initiative.

“I just donated to Donald Trump to show that Americans will not tolerate tyranny, and will always stand united to defend people targeted by the government,” former Rep. George Santos posted on X, along with a link to the fundraiser.

“More see the unjustness and want to help,” remarked Fox News host Laura Ingraham of the GoFundMe.

“Any person of goodwill should support this campaign, regardless of what you think of Trump,” wrote someone else.

But social media’s reception to the campaign was far from all positive.

“Just so I understand. You want folks to send YOU and YOUR WIFE their money to pay ‘Billionaire’ Trump’s $350M judgment and then YOU and YOUR WIFE will SEND the money to ‘Billionaire’ Trump?” wrote former Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele. “Sure. Let me get right on that.”

“This GoFundMe violates their TOS,” wrote another user on X, highlighting the platform’s prohibition on fundraising to pay for the legal defense of alleged financial and violent crimes. “I encourage everyone to report it as such & have it taken down.”

Others were less polite in their criticisms.

“Keep milking the suckers,” quipped one user, along with an image of two people in front of a trailer contrasted with Trump.

“You two are dumber than Trump’s lawyer,” someone else replied to Cardone’s post.

Some of the donations appear made in jest.

“At least people are getting off some good comments on the GoFundMe for Trump knowing it will eventually get shut down and money refunded,” one user on X wrote, including a screenshot of someone who put their name as “Ghislaine Maxwell” and contributed $5, and another whose donor name was listed as “Dark Brandon sends his regards.”

The fundraiser has since turned off its comments.

The Daily Dot has reached out to GoFundMe for comment.

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*First Published: Feb 19, 2024, 9:23 am CST