The Trump boys are starting to make me nervous.

“This isn’t like you,” read the subject line in the email I received Friday from Eric Trump. He continued, “Team Trump just informed me that you haven’t accepted my father’s offer to join the Trump 100 Club, and I have to admit, I’m pretty disappointed.”

“Florida looks good on you,” proclaimed an email from Donald Trump Jr. earlier in the week. He goes on to ask, “Have you stopped checking your email? You’ve been invited to join my father at the 2020 Convention Celebration in Florida, but our records show that you’ve IGNORED all of our emails.”

A little background …

A couple of months ago, while looking for different and fun things to do during self-isolation from the coronavirus, I came across an online ad for Team Trump, the brain trust running the president’s re-election campaign.

Curious about what they were up to, I clicked on the “find out more” button, which prompted a request for my email address, which I provided.


What I expected was a window into the messaging being deployed by the Trumps to propel the president to a second term – increasingly unlikely as that appears to be. What I got was a guilt trip, day after day, for not doing as I’m told.

“Is there something I’m missing?” Donald Jr. asked July 2 under the heading “Chicken or steak?” It seems I’d overlooked an invitation from Vice President Mike Pence to join him for dinner on July 9.

“The Vice President even requested to take a picture with you so that you can both remember the trip forever,” Donald Jr. noted, adding that Pence will be “disappointed” if he doesn’t get a chance to meet me.

It’s all about showing them the money, of course. And truth be told, this kind of faux-personal fundraising first took root with then-candidate Barack Obama’s presidential campaign back in 2008.

But the Trumps are taking it to a whole new level. The overriding message: If I fail to click on that red “donate” button – which, for the record, I haven’t – I should be completely and forever ashamed of myself. At times, I feel like the 16-year-old girl who dumped one of these guys back in high school and may have to hire a lawyer to stop him from trying to woo me back.

“I convinced my father to give you another chance,” Eric wrote on July 4. He went on to tell me I had one hour to make a contribution that would be matched 500 percent by, well, someone.


“We won’t extend your match offer again,” Eric warned, adding ominously, “Don’t let the president down.”

Even Eric’s wife, Lara, has gotten into the act.

“Where have you been?” she asked Wednesday about my utter neglect in not joining the Trump 100 Club. “My husband, Eric, joined, Don Jr. joined and so did Alex from Wisconsin. We’re just waiting on you now.”

Et tu, Alex from Wisconsin? I have no idea who you are, but now you’re part of the chorus devoted to making me look like an unpatriotic cheapskate?

Lara also had a thing or two to say about my failure to qualify for that 500 percent match: “President Trump specifically selected YOU for this exclusive opportunity, and he was disappointed that you failed to use your offer.”

As I muddle through my guilt trip, I’ve pondered the possible reasons Team Trump would choose this individualized shaming strategy to separate me from my money.


The first is that in the Trump Universe (my words, not theirs – at least for now) that is simply how they communicate. As amply illustrated by the already published excerpts from presidential niece Mary Trump’s tell-all book, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,” the family ethos begins and ends with pleasing Dad – first, Fred Trump Sr., and now the “narcissist” in the Oval Office.

The second possibility is that the Trumps see their core supporters as the type of folks who will read “Chicken or steak?” and immediately start salivating – convinced that they and they alone are uppermost in the minds of the president and his offspring. In short, they actually believe this kind of crap.

And a third explanation? Combine the first two.

A while back, the president himself plopped into my inbox: “Are you there? I need you more than ever.”

He went on, “I emailed you. The Vice President emailed you. My sons, Don Jr. and Eric both emailed you. My campaign manager, Brad, emailed you. Lara emailed you. Sarah Huckabee Sanders emailed you. Trump Finance emailed you. And now I’m emailing you. Again. Each day, my team has given me a list of Patriots who have stepped up … and each day, I’ve noticed YOUR NAME is STILL MISSING.” (Lest I not get it, the last two words were in bright red.)

It’s hard to imagine, as Trump’s poll numbers continue to plummet, how much worse this constant barrage – I’m averaging at least six emails per day – will get. The longer I go without responding, the more I suspect I’ll feel like the late Fred Jr., whose emotional abuse at the hands of his father and younger brother pretty much ruined his life.


Then again, I’ve actually fantasized about what would happen if I did make a donation. After all, as Don Jr. noted way back in April with an email titled “You’re invited – Don’t share this with anyone,” I have nobody but myself to blame for the low regard in which Team Trump now holds me.

“My team just informed me that you STILL haven’t contributed to our movement,” Don Jr. wrote. “Take a look at yourself …”

Following that was an “Official Record” listing my email address, followed by “Donor since: NOT AVAILABLE” and “2020 Campaign Cycle gifts: $0” and “Lifetime gifts: $0.”

“If you fail to join now, you may never have another chance to join this prestigious group,” the president’s oldest son warned.


I wonder if they’ll take Monopoly money.

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