Trump supporters rushing to goerie.com to engage in virtual battle on the topic of whether the president should pay for things.
Our friends at goerie.com noticed this morning that seven weeks after President Trump’s Idiotville campaign rally, the president’s campaign still has not reimbursed the city for services rendered.
This observation touched off a spirited virtual melee between Trump supporters (hereafter referred to as “Supporters”) and critics (“Critics”), with the comment section serving as the battlefield. What a glorious battle it was.
Internet Battlefield #1: Whether Trump historically pays what he owes
The article’s main observation – that President Trump has used services with no intention of paying for them – has a “Sun rises in the east” quality to it. It is so uncontroversial that few commenters chose to attack on this front, instead heading for perceived higher ground. There were, however, a few exceptions.
The initial shot was fired by Critic “Mary”, stating simply:
You’ll be waiting a long time because he never pays what he owes.
Supporter “Ruth” quickly returned fire:
CNN tell you that?
Uh oh! Ruth has never heard the term, “Don’t shoot the messenger,” because when CNN reported during the presidential campaign of several small businesses having been stiffed by Trump, they were pulling info directly from court filings.
Critics began breaching Ruth’s defense, leading her to fall back slightly:
And how many did he pay? You claimed “never”. I need proof.
Well, now. Ruth went from, “Fake news!” to, “At least he didn’t stiff everyone ever!” faster than a speeding bullet. The problem, of course, is that you need to pay all your bills. Paying some of them is no real accomplishment.
Critics pounced on this idea, as well as Ruth’s insistence that it is incumbent on the internet to bring her the proof. The first skirmish in this Battle of GoErie goes to the Critics.
Critics 1, Supporters 0
Internet Battlefield #2: If you dislike President Trump, aren’t you really an America-hating snowflake?
This was a more common line of attack among Supporters than you’d like to think, and goes a long way in explaining his depth of support. Simply put, conflating the leader of a country with the country itself is hero worship.
Here’s a sampling, first from Supporter Kevin:
So sick of hearing about this…liberals get over your anger and hatred…GET OVER IT…IM A TAX PAYER ALSO BUTTERCUPS
Hear that? Kevin pays his taxes and loves his caps lock, so pay that $35,000 and cram it, liberals.
If you don’t want to pay $35,000 for a Donald Trump campaign rally, you must be butt hurt that he’s president in the first place.
I am pretty sure this is America still and he is the leader of the country. The wfact that you are promoting this shows your complete disdain for this country.
There it is. “You’re an American, arent you? Pay $35,000 for this campaign event, you America-hating liberal.”
Critic Jeff adeptly defended against this line of attack:
In America tax dollars are not spent on campaign events. Not paying what you owe shows a complete disdain for our laws and our taxpayers.
Succinct and factual. Point, Critics.
Critics 2, Supporters 0
Internet Battlefield #3: What about the Democrats?
Many Supporters preferred not to deal with the thought of Trump being a serial deadbeat and instead elected to fight a previous battle: were Democratic presidents charged for similar services when they visited Idiotville? Did they pay up?
A dense cluster of Supporter troops focused on this point. Here is a comment that is representative of the group, from Supporter Joe:
Do we bill the democrats who comer to our town?
Or how about Greg:
Did you bill Obama? Bill Clinton? Joe Biden? Get over yourself, it’s part of life! Schember you are being an ridiculous!
While former President Clinton did visit our area during the 2016 campaign, his visit was not to Erie, strictly speaking. He stumped for Hillary in 2016 at Penn State Behrend in Harborcreek.
When was the last Democratic president to visit Erie while in office? Commenters seem to agree it was JFK over 50 years ago. We aren’t likely to find much from that visit.
What about other cities? Do they send candidates a bill? Do the candidates ever pay? This is where it gets genuinely interesting. It turns out, a whole bunch of municipalities have sent Trump a bill after rallies.
Here’s an article from Utica, NY stating Rep. Claudia Tenney was billed for her rally with Trump, but she never paid, either. Interestingly, the bill was for $29,696, right in the ballpark of the Erie bill.
This article says over three dozen cities are awaiting payment following a Trump rallies, but won’t likely get it.
It turns out, there is a long history of municipalities billing candidates, and no history whatsoever of candidates paying those bills. This seems unexpected, so should be repeated for emphasis – Trump is not exceptionally sleazy on this particular point. He is well within the norm.
There is no FEC requirement to pay municipalities for police escorts, overtime, and other services. So no one has.
Despite this ammunition being available to the Supporters through the Battle of GoErie, Supporters chose not to shoot this shot. They seemed more interested in reminding liberals who the president is than confirming their point. But the point was on their side nonetheless.
Critics 2, Supporters 1
So in the end, should President Trump’s campaign organization pay this bill? Who is the true winner of this internet battle?
The Result – Everyone Loses
It hardly seems unreasonable that, after paying Erie Insurance Arena to hold the event and even being forced to reimburse the Air Force for the use of Air Force One to arrive at a campaign event, Trump should pay for local security forces as well.
However, it does seem unreasonable to hold Trump to a higher standard than other politicians. There is no good argument that only President Trump should be making these payments.
Above all, the remarkable fact of the Battle of GoErie is that, with 333 comments and counting, no commenter on either side of the field has bothered to look up basic facts of the debate. It almost seems an internet comment thread is not the best place to go for information.