Byron Donalds, Matt Gaetz offer Donald Trump support with very different tone
Byron Donalds, Matt Gaetz

Donalds Gaetz
Naples Republican calls for donations to Trump campaign. Panhandle Republican shared accusations of fraud.

U.S. Rep.-elect Byron Donalds issued a call to Republicans to donate to the Donald Trump reelection campaign as court challenges mount.

That comes as President Trump tweets calls to “STOP THE FRAUD!” and Rep. Matt Gaetz stokes conspiracy theories on social media.

“It is critical that we have the resources to fight back against the Left’s attempt to overthrow election integrity,” Donalds tweeted on Thursday. “Please contribute to Donald Trump’s legal fund to protect our election safeguards.”

The post linked to a fundraising page for Donald J. Trump For President.

The fundraising effort came days after Donalds officially won election to Congress. He defeated Democrat Cindy Banyai months after winning a pricey Republican primary in Florida’s 19th Congressional District. The Naples Republican will succeed retiring Rep. Francis Rooney and be sworn into the House in January.

His effort to raise money for Trump’s campaign comes as the President files court challenges regarding close races in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia. If Democrat Joe Biden wins those states he will win the Presidential election and deny Trump a second term. Michigan has already been projected for Biden while Trump’s lead has been consistently narrowing in Georgia and Pennsylvania as more votes are counted, a trend Democrats think will lead to a victory, if not in both then at least in the overall path to the White House.

Donalds’ message focused on safeguarding the Democratic process in a measured tone. That echoed fundraising emails from Pence, who called for supporters to “remain vigilant.”

“President Trump has activated the Official Election Defense Fund and we are asking our strongest supporters, like YOU, to step up and give us the resources we need to defend the Election results,” Pence wrote in a fundraising email.

But those comments notably read very different than rhetoric from the President and another Republican Congressman from Florida taking to Twitter to defend the President.

Gaetz, a Panhandle Republican, shared numerous tweets leveling insinuations of voter fraud. He shared a tweet from Trump seeming to show a Black vote tabulator tossing some votes away.

In a quote tweet of a Democratic organizer encouraging Georgia voters to cure signatures on vote-by-mail, Gaetz tweeted, “this is not what democracy looks like.”

He also shared a tweet from failed Congressional candidate Anna Paulina Luna who alleged dead people were voting in Michigan.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


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