Remember the good old days of the Republican presidential primary, back before the Donald Trump campaign was sending out fundraising emails? Well now his fundraising pitches are already getting downright absurd. Trump started a fundraiser to indict Hillary Clinton. Yep, you read that right. Previously, the candidate loved few things so much as bragging about how he was self-funding his campaign, even though that was never entirely true. But it was true he'd never sent his supporters a fundraising email — up until last week, at least.
Buzz over the idea that Clinton should or will be indicted is nothing new, whether over the Benghazi attacks (a pipe dream), her ongoing email scandal (the subject of an investigation, at least), or anything else in a litany of complaints and criticisms. But it's rarely been used quite as gratuitously as this. Making a practical or intellectual argument that Clinton should be indicted is one thing. But coming out to say "Chip in $10 to indict"? That's really something else. Here's what some Trump supporters woke up to find in their inboxes on Tuesday:
It's hard to know where to start with this, so maybe the simplest reaction is the best: What on earth is Trump thinking? As an effort in political hedging and weaselly phrasing, this is pretty epic stuff. It doesn't strictly claim that your donation will literally go toward getting Clinton indicted — which is good, because you can't force indictments through campaign fundraising. Rather, it suggests that you'll be the one casting the indictment by handing over your hard-earned cash to a bombastic self-proclaimed billionaire (who, if his wealth-related braggadocio is true, could ostensibly fund the whole campaign himself).
But that pseudo-disclaimer at the top doesn't really matter. What matters are those bright red donation buttons calling out to you. Only $5, Mr. Trump? Are you sure you don't need $10? Or even $20? Just tell me how much money you need to raise before the federal agents knock on Clinton's door.
Needless to say, it's tacky in the extreme, and that's nothing new or all that shocking. But as a distillation of Trump's increasingly tone-deaf and deranged attacks against Clinton (to say nothing of Elizabeth Warren), the gullibility he's trying to exploit in his adherents, and the sudden, bracing reality that his campaign's running out of money, it's pretty perfect.