Former President Donald Trump knows a scammer when he sees one. And so, apparently, do the people closest to him.
Those who appropriate Trump’s name include, of course, Trump himself, who has been accused of not pay their workers, ripping off their own lawyerspaying $25 million to resolve a fraud claim against his fake university, leaving real estate investors on the hook by failed projectsunfolding a litany of tricks Y failed productsand redirect the money from her children’s cancer charity to her own company—a company so steeped in scams that dedicated a spreadsheet to stay on top of everything.
Trump carried this ethic with him into the presidency and beyond, with his political apparatus spending more than $12 million on Trump property and products, including $5,000 worth of “Trump Ice” water six years after it was discontinued. Even more incredibly, his daughter and his son-in-law earned as much as $640 million while serving in the White House.
The audacity, then, of some of his closest hangers-on throwing rocks at each other about ripping off Trump’s name comes off as a bit rich. But those vying for a spot in Trump’s inner circle have found that the line of attack works with the former president.
“He notices,” a senior Trump adviser said of people in the former president’s orbit who are making money off the Trump brand. “He, too, realizes who was there, who will be there, and why they are there.”
The “fraudsters,” this adviser continued, appear to be the people who “made themselves disproportionately rich during the Trump presidency.”
Those names include some of the most familiar carnival braggarts, profiteers and barkers in MAGA Land, from anti-college activist Charlie Kirk to Palm Beach popinjay Roger Stone to far-right puppet master turned far-right podcaster Steve Bannon.
But any surge in Trump’s skepticism about the purity of heart of those around him would seem to come at a critical moment, as the former president, beset by a series of investigations that have begun to infiltrate his inner circle, tries to come clean. a would-be FBI informant within the walls of Mar-a-Lago and spends millions of dollars in donor cash to cover the legal costs of associates who could turn against him at any time.
While Trump loves making money on his own name, he’s not so keen on those in his orbit doing the same. In fact, Trump’s political team created an entire in-house company to run the 2020 campaign after the 2016 White House bid was mired in accusations of fraud.
That shell company, American Made Media Consultants, finally prosecuted—and covered-more than $770 million in expenses. But while AMMC helped ensure transparency within the campaign, following the recommendations of former campaign manager Brad Parscale $100 million 2016: The setup only led to more fraud accusations from the outside, because it hid the real recipients of campaign payments from public view.
A top Trump adviser told The Daily Beast that AMMC was created to address concerns about Parscale’s dual roles as campaign manager and media broker.
“After 2016, campaign lawyers came in and basically said they were paranoid about Brad’s dual roles as campaign manager and clearinghouse for [campaign] payments,” said the attendant. “They suggested creating a new company to handle the money side, and Brad and Jared [Kushner] He said it was a good idea…for transparency and also because Brad was tired of catching shit.”
But that was in 2020. And while Trump lost, the post-presidency has been as riddled with scams as ever, at least according to Trump’s own aides.
“You can’t forget Charlie Kirk,” said a senior Trump adviser, with another adviser also naming Kirk as one of the biggest con men in Trump’s orbit.
Kirk rose to MAGA stardom after building the conservative student organization Turning Point USA. Now just 28 years old, some around Trump feel that Kirk and TPUSA are teaming up with the former president to “profit.”
One of the sources expressed surprise and annoyance at the “pure profits” the conservative group has made simply by using a Trumpworld fundraising line: “We just spoke to the president.”
When asked for comment, TPUSA spokesman Andrew Kolvet did not address the criticism, instead attacking The Daily Beast’s credibility.
“Respectfully forgive me if I’m suspicious of any investigation that begins with ‘Two current Trump advisers spoke to The Daily Beast on condition of anonymity,'” Kolvet said.
Kirk owes his close relationship with Trump in part to a longtime Turning Point speaker, Kimberly Guilfoyle, the fiancée of Donald Trump Jr., who helped foster a very close connection between the two men.
“The president loves her very much,” a source close to Trump said of Guilfoyle. But Trumpworld sources also accused Guilfoyle of enriching himself through “access and proximity” to the former president, with stories ranging from luxury clothing to more shocking paychecks.
“There is a story of a donor who bought her boots that were very expensive,” said an adviser. Other sources pointed to Guilfoyle’s ex Monthly payments of $15,000 through Parscale, as well as his speech on January 6, which lasted two minutes but harvested it $60,000.
A source close to Guilfoyle, who herself worked as a Trump campaign fundraiser, said the $60,000 payment was for multiple campaign-related events, declining to elaborate.
Quantitatively, the biggest beneficiary of the Trump brand, aside from Trump himself, is almost certainly Jared Kushner.
Again, Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump came out of their four years in the White House having increased their personal wealth as much as $640 million, according to research by CREW. But that pales in comparison to the deals Kushner has pursued since he left DC.
A Trump adviser accused Kushner of making “billions” from Trump’s name and his time in the White House through his new private equity firmAffinity Partners, which has garnered strong backing from Saudi financiers.
However, a source close to Kushner refuted the “factual inaccuracies” claim circulating among Trump confidants, telling The Daily Beast that Affinity Partners only received a “commitment,” which is money that cannot be spent. .
Other punching bags include former Trump whisperers like Roger Stone and Steve Bannon, whose relationships with the former president come and go. Both men carried enough clout to secure presidential pardons, but neither is currently considered part of Trump’s inner circle, a fact that hasn’t stopped them from bragging otherwise.
Two Trump advisers singled out Stone as “vindictive” and untrustworthy. One added that Stone remains one of many “sycophants” who are “begging for attention” from the former president.
(When contacted by The Daily Beast, Stone’s comment was just a guess as to who the sources of this story were.)
And then there’s Bannon. While the right-wing media manipulator isn’t as flamboyant as Stone, he maneuvers her at a distance from him, especially after his White House arrival in 2017. dismissal—has not escaped Trump’s eye.
Bannon and Trump did not speak for three years after his Shooting, according to a source close to Trump. The former president, according to this source, was “apoplectic” for Bannon’s role in the program “We Build The Wall” fraud—a scam that was written behind Trump’s broken campaign promise, and ultimately lured in the feds conspiracy charges for money laundering and fraud.
However, Trump pardoned Bannon in his final weeks in office specifically on those charges, while the MAGA loyalist turned WarRoom podcast host was making it his life’s mission to prove that the 2020 election should be overturned. . (Bannon is reportedly now a focus of a New York State investigation into the scheme).
Still, Bannon hasn’t really gotten back on good terms with Trump.
“They don’t really talk,” said one of Trump’s top advisers, and another current Trump staffer backed him up.
Instead, Bannon and his former boss receive each other’s material through “osmosis,” according to a Trumpworld source, and a series of pro-Trump headlines generated by Bannon’s comments (or in progress legal proceedings).
“These false claims are ridiculous and those who are peddling these falsehoods are neither with President Trump nor for President Trump,” a spokesperson for Bannon told The Daily Beast. “They are swindlers trying to sow discord in order to line their pockets. They are being kicked out.”
A Trump spokesman did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment on this story.
But as the MAGA soap opera unfolds, Trump finds himself concerned with more existential threats: potential 2024 Republican rivals surround him, and increasingly sinister investigations loom.
“Right now, I think what he’s most worried about is bad advice,” a Trump adviser said. “That is why he is beefing up his legal team.”
Still, as Trump becomes more obsessed than ever with loyalty, accusations of fraud take on new weight. And these advisers seeking to further ingratiate themselves with Trump are seeing a new opportunity amid the chaos.
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