On any given day in 2021, I receive at least 20 fundraising emails from current, former or wanna-be Republican candidates, along with right-leaning PACs, and promptly click “unsubscribe.” But I save those sent from potential 2024 presidential contenders since they provide valuable insight into Republican-base message testing from high-priced GOP consultants. Then, I watch who sent them and how often, during what is traditionally the most off-year in the presidential campaign cycle.
Here is a review of emails from three contenders from whom I have received the most.
To refresh your memory, Pompeo was Trump’s second secretary of state, starting in mid-April 2018, after serving as the president’s first CIA director. (Pre-Trump, he was a three-term Republican representative from Kansas.) Pompeo’s respectable resume gives him license to actively test the 2024 waters.
Hence, starting about two months ago – with Dec. 20 the most recent – I began receiving emails from “Mike Pompeo.” Untitled, as a Mr. Average Guy, he asked in the subject line: “Can you spare just $1? I’ll be blunt: I’m asking.”
After seeing Pompeo’s message, my first thought was, “how the mighty have fallen.” Second, how embarrassing for someone of his stature to ask if I could “spare just $1.” Upon opening the message, four times he asked me to “Chip in $1.”
Sent on behalf of Pompeo’s CAVPAC (Champion American Values), his PAC is raising money to “elect more principled Republicans who won’t give an inch to the Democrats.” Not exactly a unifying message. And Pompeo, who for four years presided over our national secrets and foreign policy – presumably trying to keep us safe – now warns, “our democracy is at stake here!”
Ironically, he could have issued that same warning to the media during the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, but instead, Pompeo remained silent.
Then, on Nov. 16, a Hill headline read, “Mnuchin, Pompeo mulled plan to remove Trump after Jan. 6: book.” The report explained: “ABC News’s Jonathan Karl writes in ‘Betrayal’ that then-Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin spoke with other Cabinet members including then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about attempting to remove Trump from office through the 25th Amendment, according to excerpts published by MSNBC.”
The Hill also reported, “‘Pompeo through a spokesman denied there have ever been conversations around invoking the 25th Amendment,’ according to Rolling Stone.”
You might ponder this Jan. 6-related thought: If a major U.S. ally had suffered a similar attack, it is highly likely that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would have made a public statement.
And now he is begging for a buck, further devaluing the slight chance he has of winning the 2024 GOP nomination. Pompeo’s problem is three-fold: He is not Trump. He can’t separate himself from Trump. His charisma and star power shines like a black hole. Moreover, he has physically shrunk after a dramatic weight loss. (No comment on the symbolism.)
The emails I receive from the former vice president arrive with a blinking red warning light. Starting on Nov. 13, a daily newsletter headlined “Pence News” invaded my inbox. It is sent from an address that, when opened, literally causes my anti-virus software to erupt with a noisy warning — “Access denied: Website that presents a potential data leakage threat.”
This strange “Pence News” daily email offers no news about Pence, no “about” link to explain who aggregates the newsletter’s content and, oddly, does not solicit donations. But, when I risked computer safety to visit the Pence News site, it prominently read, “Supporting our values and our vice president.”
Furthermore, that same “lethal” address is what Mike Pence uses to send emails from his PAC – AdvancingAmericanFreedom – with subject lines such as “Parents are NOT terrorists” and “Defending the Faith.”
Is Team Trump sabotaging Pence’s marketing efforts? And does it even matter? “Pence is going nowhere,” says an associate who is an expert on GOP politics. Worse, Trump recently said that Pence was “mortally wounded” inside the GOP. Why? He obeyed the law on Jan. 6.
However, when the history of Jan. 6, 2021, is written decades from now, then-Vice President Mike Pence is likely to be revered as an American hero who saved our democracy. The democracy that Mike Pompeo now proclaims is “at stake” — while asking for “just $1.”
The former president is the “King-Kong” of emailers who crushes the others’ efforts like the ape crushed cars. Previously, I wrote about a weekend in mid-August, the most unlikely time to be bombarded by Trump’s fundraising emails.
My husband said he “unsubscribed,” but unabatedly, the emails continued. The messages are non-stop, with multiple daily “official alerts” from the “desk of Donald J. Trump” sent from his “Save America” PAC. The content is his usual fare that rips Biden to shreds, complains about the rigged 2020 election, Big Tech and the horrors of the Jan. 6 committee. He seeks revenge, ravages his enemies and sometime makes headlines. You never know until you open.
Don Jr.’s emails are especially irritating, continuously haranguing me about missing this or that fundraising deadline while screaming, “YOU were identified as one of my father’s TOP supporters.” And there’s always a barrage of emails hawking those famous Trump banners, hats and other seasonal paraphernalia.
Team Trump’s daily email tsunami reminds me of the old joke asking: “What survives after a nuclear bomb is dropped?” Answer: cockroaches and Cher. But now add Trump’s emails.
After reviewing my 2021 inbox, here what’s missing: Bold, truthful emails from Pompeo and Pence. Instead, they forge ahead with cultural cliché subject lines and one-dollar asks without confronting Trump about the “Big Lie” and Jan. 6. As a result, their emails are weak drivel while Trump’s are strong, often factually challenged and sometimes anti-democratic.
If Trump is King Kong, will “Godzilla” emerge to fight him for the 2024 nomination? Or does the GOP surrender and cancel their presidential primaries? My 2022 inbox will no doubt be deluged with endless drama and possibilities.
Myra Adams writes about politics and religion for numerous publications. She is a RealClearPolitics contributor and served on the creative team of two GOP presidential campaigns in 2004 and 2008. Follow her on Twitter @MyraKAdams.
Cross-posted at The Hill and Substack.