Trump Supporters Turned Off by Aggressive Donation Texts

Trump Supporters Turned Off by Aggressive Donation Texts
President Donald Trump holds a COVID-19 and storm preparedness roundtable in Belleair, Fla., on July 31, 2020. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)
Zachary Stieber

Trump supporters say they're not going to give any more money to the campaign or Republican groups after getting what they describe as spam messages urging them to donate.

Frustration with the bombardment of the messages spilled into public view in recent weeks, culminating with the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and a top committee official disparaging a pro-Trump political commentator who criticized them.

The urgent tone of the messages and language attempting to guilt-trip conservatives into donating prompted critics to post screenshots of the texts along with complaints.

One message read: "We texted you TWICE. Why did you let your 500% Trump House Patriot match expire AGAIN? We'll give you 1 more chance."

After pro-Trump commentator Kurt Schlichter said the NRCC wouldn't "get one freaking cent from me," the committee and a spokesman hit back on social media.

"Hey Kurt - our digital fundraising operation has broken every fundraising record this cycle. Maybe instead of crying about tone on Twitter you could help get some conservatives elected?" Bob Salera, the spokesman, told Schlichter.

"This text raised $198,021 toward electing conservatives to Congress. But we'll certainly pass your complaints on to our manager, Karen," the committee added, using what some describe as a slur.

The NRCC didn't answer the phone or return an email on Monday. The Trump campaign didn't respond to a request for comment.

Lisa Banner, a Georgia-based Trump supporter, told the Daily Caller News Foundation that she receives the messages, sometimes several per day.

"It makes me insulted," Banner said. "It makes me feel as though he underestimates his base, which I am one of and a lot of other people that I know, and I don’t know anybody this appeals to."

The Trump campaign has sent out similar messages, including some that are purportedly from the president himself.

"Pres. Trump: I texted you. My sons texted you. Now I'm texting you AGAIN. 7 HOURS LEFT & we're short. Will you step up? Donate for a 7X-MATCH," one read.

Bill Supplee, a Pennsylvania-based Trump supporter, told the foundation he replied "stop" but then started to get the messages from a different number.

President Donald Trump at a Make America Great Again rally in Cape Girardeau, Mo., on Nov. 5, 2018. (Hu Chen/The Epoch Times)
President Donald Trump at a Make America Great Again rally in Cape Girardeau, Mo., on Nov. 5, 2018. (Hu Chen/The Epoch Times)

"It’s crazy. I don’t know if it’s a scam or what. Nobody’s getting my money now," he said.

CTIA, a trade group representing the U.S. wireless communications industry, said last month that campaigns are increasingly turning to text messaging, a method that's getting negative feedback.

"Billions of texts will be sent from political campaigns of both parties, and we are increasingly hearing from customers that they are getting texts they didn’t ask to receive," the group said in a blog post.

Consumers usually open and read text messages, making them attractive to campaigns and other organizations trying to build up enthusiasm. But consumers have a rightful expectation not to receive unwanted texts, making it imperative for senders to adopt best practices like communicating only with people who have opted in and telling consumers how to opt-out, the group said.

The Trump campaign was sued last year by three Minnesota residents who said they received unsolicited text messages, which they argued violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

The federal law "strictly forbids spam text messages exactly like those alleged in this complaint—intrusive text messages to private cellular phones," the trio said in a court filing.

John Tunheim, chief U.S. district judge for the District of Minnesota, a Clinton nominee, in June rejected an attempt by the campaign to dismiss the suit, saying the campaign failed to show the plaintiffs entered into any type of agreement with it.

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