Early Monday morning, President Trump’s former campaign manager surrendered to the FBI, one of his former campaign advisors pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents about his contact with Russians, and his second son sent out a fundraising email.
With the subject line “Still Standing,” the email from Eric Trump describes the media as “the opposition” and asks for money from “a loyal supporter of our movement, [who] I know you know the truth."
It was blasted as either shameless moneymaking or a stupid mistake by rookie political operators. Honestly though, it was brilliant. Fundraising off of the FBI investigation is probably one of the smartest decisions the Trump family has made during the entire Russia scandal for at least two reasons.
First, and most obviously, Trump could use the money. While the president is wealthy and Republicans have been working overtime to fill their war chests, 2020 is going to be nothing if not expensive.
Second, the fundraising email whips the media into a frenzy. It labels journalists as part of the “new opposition” and blames them for continuing “to play politics, creating division and turning the American people against one another.” Perhaps justified, the inevitable backlash is counterproductive.
Imagine a Trump voter, checking their email during break. They look down at their phone, then up at the television to see what the president’s son just described as the enemy. Unlike politicos, the voters aren’t watching cable news on loop. They haven’t broken down the Manafort indictment in detail. What they know, they’ve picked up from the radio on the way to work and talk shows before heading to bed. So they instinctively tune out the news and maybe they even donate to the president.
Two birds with one stone, the email is efficient, if not honest.