Trump’s fans send unsolicited cash
He may be derided by pundits and mocked by opponents, but GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump has followers so devoted that they’re willing to send him money — even though he never asked for any.
The billionaire businessman said he would fund his own campaign so he wouldn’t be beholden to any donors, which has turned out to be a great way to get funding from ordinary folks enthralled by his business acumen and fighting spirit and believing he is the only candidate in the race who can make America great again.
His campaign collected $3.9 million from July to September, according to the Federal Election Commission. And 75 percent of those campaign contributions came in amounts of $200 or less.
“I think Donald Trump is the only one for America,” said Rita Montesi from Cordova, Tennessee, who sent Mr. Trump $500. “America used to be a great country; it’s no longer a great country. He’s a businessman, he knows how to negotiate, he says what he thinks … I think it’s either him or I don’t know what.”
Ms. Montesi, who owns an industrial supply store, said she contributed because she wants to “stand up and be counted” among Mr. Trump’s supporters. She put his bumper sticker on her car, attended his rally in Franklin, Tennessee, and is actively campaigning for him.
“This is the first time I have ever had this passion for anyone,” she said. “This really is a phenomenon. The he often touts as the reason the country needs him.
“Trump is the most successful guy on the stage, period,” said Kent Baughman of Jupiter, Florida. “The U.S. is a big business, and it’s failing now. You can only borrow so much money. At some point you have to turn the business to where it’s profitable. He’s the most successful businessman, and we need a businessman. Not a politician, not a humanitarian, a businessman.”
Mr. Baughman gave $500 to Mr. Trump and owns an advertising company.
“I figured I’d throw some money in the pot,” he said. “Trump can roll his sleeves up and get into a slugging match. If you’re a president, you have to have some grit, and ours now doesn’t.”
His grit and determination are what Mr. Trump’s supporters love about him — and they’re perplexed by retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson’s run for the top office. Despite pundits lumping the two GOP front-runners together as “outsiders” who draw from the same pool of supporters, none of the Trump supporters interviewed by The Times said they would vote for Mr. Carson.
“I like Ben Carson, but I don’t know if he’s strong enough for what we need,” said Priscilla Ferguson of Cypress, Texas, who donated to the Trump campaign.
That sense that Mr. Carson lacks a fighter’s instinct came through in the interviews, with many saying Mr. Carson would be overmatched in negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Gentle Ben is Gentle Ben,” said Philip Damiano of Hayden Lake, Idaho. “I wouldn’t want to put him in a room with Putin because Putin would kill him.”