Surprise: Donald Trump’s GOP Primary Picks Have Dropped Over $ 400,000 at Mar-a-Lago

While Donald Trump hated the actual job of being president, one thing he apparently really, really liked about the gig was the many opportunities it gave him to make money off of the federal government, US taxpayers, and anyone looking to kiss the ring. For example, during his four years in office, he made a regular habit of staying at (and pimping out) his for-profit properties, where we learned on Monday the Secret Service paid nearly $ 2 million for, as the watchdog group CREW put it , “The right to protect him and his family.” (This will likely come as a shock to anyone who gets their news from Eric Trump, who previously claimed agents stayed at Trump-owned properties “for free.”) Naturally, that figure does not even count the cash the other parts of the government had to splash out during various visits, including meetings with heads of state during which Trump charged for water. Meanwhile, it was an open secret among Republican politicians, foreign officials, corporate executives, and anyone looking to grease the wheels that their money would go far at the Trump International Hotel Washington, DC, which was one of the many businesses the 45th president refused to divest from after being inaugurated and profited off of during his time in office. “Why would not I stay at his hotel blocks from the White House, so I can tell the new president, ‘I love your new hotel!’ Isn’t it rude to come to his city and say, ‘I am staying at your competitor?’ ”A diplomat told The Washington Post in 2016.

So obviously, it should come as little surprise to learn that many of the GOP candidates Trump has endorsed for Tuesday’s primaries have also been sending money directly into the ex-president’s pocket, but it’s nice to put a dollar figure on it.

CNBC reports that federal and state campaign finance records show that the campaigns of seven of the Republican candidates Trump has backed have shelled out more than a combined $ 400,000 at Mar-a-Lago this election cycle. According to reporter Brian Schwartz, Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker‘s campaign has dropped the most cash by far, spending nearly $ 200,000 so far at the Palm Beach resort. (Trump endorsed Walker last September, and despite lying about his academic background, allegedly holding a gun to his ex-wife’s head a handful of times, and suggesting the jury is still out on evolution, he’s expected to win.) Other candidates spending thousands at Trump’s club include former Georgia senator David Perdue (over $ 20,000); Representative Jody Hice (over $ 38,000); and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (over $ 45,000), according to campaign finance records. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, forms Georgia state representative Vernon Jones, and former Trump White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders have also reportedly spent campaign cash to rent space at the Florida club.

In a text message, Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich suggested to CNBC that none of this was remotely unseemly, and that any Republican candidate hoping to raise funds is practically obligated to do so at one of the former president’s for-profit businesses. “In Republican politics today, there’s only two seasons that matter: Mar-A-Lago season and Bedminster season, because it’s where candidates, organizations, and donors want to be,” he said.

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Lachlan Murdoch: People with legitimate criticism of all the terrible things Fox News does are just haters

“I think when you’re in the news business, and you’re number one… you get a lot of heat and it just comes with the territory,” the Fox Corporation CEO and eldest son of Rupert Murdoch told Axios, apparently refusing to consider that the network’s love of COVID misinformation, election falsehoods, right-wing conspiracy theories, and blatantly racist programming are bad for society. “I think the world is more divided and on edge than it has been, you know, for a very long time,” Murdoch added. “I think about the noise around it, so much of it is politicized. And so, you’ve got to be tough about it.” Referring specifically to a letter sent to his father and other Fox News executives last week by Chuck Schumer, in which the Senate majority leader asked them to “immediately cease the reckless amplification of the so-called ‘Great Replacement’ theory on your network’s broadcasts,” and called out Tucker Carlson by name, Murdoch told Axios: “Unfortunately, it comes with the territory. You’ve got to kind of realize what it is and how some of it is very organized kind of attacks — very coordinated — but it’s what it is. ” As a reminder, the suspect in the Buffalo shooting wrote in his manifesto that he believed Democrats are trying to replace white people, a racist conspiracy theory Carlson has spent more than 400 shows amplifying.

Rudy Giuliani takes a break from shaving in restaurants to appear before the January 6 committee

You may or may not be surprised to hear that Trump’s former lawyer was not as helpful as he could have been:

Donald Trump’s onetime attorney Rudy Giuliani testified to the House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack at length on Friday but declined to discuss the involvement of congressional Republicans in efforts to overturn the 2020 election result, according to sources familiar with the matter. The move by Giuliani to refuse to give insight into Republican involvement could mean his appearance only marginally advanced the inquiry into his ploy to have the then vice-president, Mike Pence, unlawfully keep Trump in office after he lost to Joe Biden.

Giuliani asserted privilege and the work-product doctrine to decline to respond when asked to detail the roles played by House and Senate Republicans in the scheme to stop Congress’s certification of Biden’s victory on January 6, 2021, the sources said. The panel was not expecting Giuliani to divulge damning information against Trump, since committee counsel had agreed with Giuliani in advance that he should not have to violate legitimate claims of privilege he might have as the former president’s attorney.

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