A Chicago-based student says the idea of supporting President Donald Trump makes her “skin crawl.” But that isn’t stopping her from posing as a Trump supporter, “Make America Great Again” bucket hat and all, in a ploy to rack up sympathy—and more importantly, donations—from actual conservatives.
The 19-year-old, who identified herself to the Daily Dot as Karen, is effectively leading a double life on her own Twitter timeline. She retweets indiscriminately, sometimes sharing the tweets of outraged pro-“MAGA” users and sometimes sharing the tweets of people calling her “ugly” or the N-word because they believe she turned her back on other Black Americans.
It’s all in the name of trolling, and it all started when she tweeted a selfie last week showing herself wearing the “MAGA” hat.
“I will not hide any longer,, the left has made us feel as if us black republicans should hide!! but not anymore!! #BlacksForTrump #WalkAway #maga,” Karen wrote on Oct. 27.
“I saw the hat and my troll mind instantly wanted to create mess. So I just took a picture with it before destroying it and then posted it,” Karen told the Daily Dot in a Twitter message.
A mess, indeed. The tweet, which now has over 22,000 likes, was met with a flood of praise and compliments from pro-Trump users.
“We will always stand with you and have respect for you,” one user wrote. “We have your back. We love you and you are a beautiful woman.”
Karen followed up with a link to a now-defunct GoFundMe page.
“Thank you all so much for your overwhelming support,” she said in the tweet. “After seeing this tweet my parents cut me off and refuse to pay my university tuition. So if you can find it in your hearts to help this young, Black Republican pay for school it would be appreciated.”
She didn’t disclose to the Daily Dot how much she received in donations, via GoFundMe or otherwise. But her Twitter display name is a handle for money transfer service Cash App, and some of her recent tweets suggest her coin scheme worked.
hot take: stealing from republicans isn’t bad because republicans arent ppl— incel nation (@chckpeas) November 2, 2018
JSKSKSKS WHY DO YALL EXPOSE ME WTF https://t.co/0o5SNKP4VM— incel nation (@chckpeas) November 2, 2018
… anyways just ordered my iPhone XS max yall want sum from the apple store?? pic.twitter.com/IvB4eAK1tk— incel nation (@chckpeas) November 3, 2018
She’s tried various methods of getting her tweets in front of a conservative audience. On Thursday morning, she tweeted screenshots of a text exchange she claimed was between her and her mom.
“I’m now getting kicked out,” she wrote. “My mother literally woke up out my sleep and screamed at me ‘how could you support this monster’ she doesn’t even know him so how can he be a monster … I just wish they understood.”
The texts, of course, were fake.
“My mother would never kick me out and I’m laying in my warm bed in my progressive house,” Karen told the Daily Dot. “Although I have to add that my switching between two vernaculars was iconic and in all honesty it’s probably what contributed to people believing the texts were real.”
She publicly admitted to the trolling effort on Thursday, writing a series of tweets exposing what she really thinks about Trump and his supporters.
“Trump is a racist, homophobic, transphobic bigot AND YOU THINK MY BLACK ASS WOULD SUPPORT THAT ROTTING CARROT??” she wrote. “Any Black person can put on that ugly ass hat and say #MAGA and y’all will instantly be up their ass cuz you wanna prove so hard you’re not racist but you are … it’s such a troll-y tweet come on guys.”
But thanks to the isolated nature of Twitter, her troll tweets are still out there, with many people still taking them at face value. And that’s fine with Karen.
“I knew it was going to go viral,” she said, “and I’m having so much fun with this.”
Update 2:25pm CT, Nov. 5: Despite claims in tweets and headlines that Karen (who also identified herself as Quran to other outlets) had made up to $150,000 in donations, she told New York magazine in a phone interview that she only made “maybe $200” before refunding the donors.
“I just honestly didn’t want to take their money,” she told the magazine. “Yeah, I can’t pay for school, but I don’t want Republican money to pay for it. I just want everyone to think I’m the finesse queen, which I am.”
A spokesperson for GoFundMe told BuzzFeed News that four people donated a total of $97 to her campaign and that all four were refunded. GoFundMe also banned Karen’s account.
“After the campaign was launched, it was reported to our Trust and Safety team. The campaign was reviewed and removed from the platform,” said the spokesperson, Bobby Withorne. “The platform is backed by the GoFundMe Guarantee, which means all donors are protected by a refund policy if misuse occurs.”