This week, former Breitbart News Chairman Steve Bannon became the latest ally of President Donald Trump to face criminal charges when federal prosecutors for the Southern District of New York indicted him for allegedly defrauding donors to the "We Build the Wall" project. Bannon and his associates raised over $25 million in a crowdfunding campaign, but Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss alleges that they didn't use the money for the construction of a U.S./Mexico border wall like they promised. Never Trump conservative and CNN pundit Amanda Carpenter, in an article published by The Bulwark on August 20, stresses that Bannon's arrest shouldn't be viewed as an anomaly, but as a pattern of widespread corruption and criminality in Trumpworld.
"Oh, what a summer it's been for those salt-of-the-earth, God-fearing, Second Amendment-protecting, border-defending members of President Trump's circle of trusted advisers," Carpenter says with biting sarcasm. "You know, the people who are working day and night to protect your rights from the evil, money-sucking swamp monsters of Washington, D.C.? Well, if you believe that, you're probably the perfect mark for the next grifter campaign led by another one of Trump's con men."
Carpenter goes on to say that Bannon, who served as White House communications director in the Trump Administration in 2017, is only the latest Trump ally to "get fitted with a free pair of steel bracelets." The others, Carpenter notes, have ranged from veteran GOP operative Roger Stone to Paul Manafort (Trump's 2016 campaign manager) to Rick Gates (his deputy campaign chairman in 2016) to Trump's former personal attorney Michael Cohen.
"Bannon is going to be spending a lot of time with his lawyers this fall because prosecutors at the Southern District of New York allege he participated in a scheme to bilk people who wanted to privately fund the border wall," Carpenter explains. "Under the premise of an online crowdfunding group, We Build The Wall, he helped rack up more than $25 million in donations from donors who were told, according to the indictment, that the founders would 'not take a penny in salary or compensation.'"
Carpenter adds that Bannon's We Build the Wall colleague Brain Kolfage, the indictment alleges, "used the money for home renovations, a boat, a luxury SUV, a golf cart, jewelry, cosmetic surgery, personal tax payments and credit card debt."
"They're grifters — and like magnets, they have a strange way of attracting other grifters," Carpenter writes. "President Trump is like a galactic electromagnet that brings grifters together into a self-collapsing black hole of suckage."
Carpenter wraps up her article with a sarcastic reference to Mike J. Lindell, the Trump ally and My Pillow founder who has been touting oleandrin — which comes from the poisonous oleander plant — as a coronavirus miracle cure and was recently denounced as a "snake oil salesman" by CNN's Anderson Cooper.
"Oh, and while you have your wallet out, can I interest you in My Pillow Guy's white oleander COVID cure?," Carpenter writes. "There's still time to get in on the ground level of the next big scheme."