Associated Press/Jeffrey T. Barnes
- A group of President Donald Trump’s most outspoken allies have jumped aboard the non-profit that intends to privately fund a border wall.
- The non-profit started out as a viral crowd-funding campaign, which raised $20 million before GoFundMe refunded all the donations.
- Now, Trump supporters like Steve Bannon, former baseball star Curt Schilling, former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, ex-Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke, and Blackwater founder Erik Prince have signed on to help, Politico reported.
- Bannon was set to headline a town hall meeting in Green Valley, Arizona, to discuss the plans on Friday.
A group of President Donald Trump’s most hardcore allies reportedly visited the US-Mexico border last week to brainstorm construction plans for a private border wall.
They apparently want to fund the wall with the millions of dollars raised through a viral GoFundMe campaign.
The Trump luminaries included former Trump strategist Steve Bannon, ex-Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke, former Major League Baseball player Curt Schilling, and former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, according to Politico. Even Blackwater founder Erik Prince reportedly dialed into their meeting.
Amid ongoing negotiations in Congress over whether to fund more than 200 miles of barriers to the tune of $5.7 billion, the Trump allies — along with scores of private donors — have decided to take the wall’s construction into their own hands.
A wildly popular GoFundMe campaign raised $20 million for the wall last month, but fell far short of its $1 billion goal. The campaign also hit a number of other roadblocks, most notably the fact that it would still need Congress to approve the donated funds’ use for the wall.
Then, the GoFundMe campaign’s creator, Brian Kolfage, changed the terms of the GoFundMe page, saying the money would instead be directed to a new 501(c)(4) non-profit named "We Build The Wall."
GoFundMe announced that since Kolfage had changed the terms of the campaign, all the donations would be refunded.
But since then, donors have forwarded at least $7 million of the refunded donations to Kolfage’s non-profit, and he has amassed a growing number of Trump’s strongest supporters to plan out construction and fundraising. Now, Bannon, Schilling, Clarke, Kobach, and Prince all sit on the non-profit’s board.
When Politico asked about the project, Bannon dismissed concerns that the non-profit had raised just a fraction of the wall’s cost.
"Look, it’s evolving," Bannon told Politico. "Do we have a billion dollars right now? No. But can we raise one- or two-hundred million dollars? No doubt about it."
Politico reported that the group has held talks with the Israeli firm Magal Security Systems, which built the fence along the country’s border with the Gaza Strip. Kolfage told Politico he believes they can build the wall for $1.5 million to $2.5 million per mile, not including the cost of the private land.
AP Photo/Moises Castillo, File
Bannon, meanwhile, was in Green Valley, Arizona, on Friday to headline a town hall discussing building the border wall on private property, according to the Arizona Daily Star.
Kolfage told The Arizona Republic that his ultimate goal is to fund the construction of 215 miles of wall, matching the amount that Trump has said he’d build with $5.7 billion.
"We really just want to get the community involved and circumvent the political stunts that the media puts out," he told the newspaper. "We just want the people to hear it from us personally — we’re human beings who just want the best for our country."
- Read more:
- After GoFundMe refunded donations to a ‘Fund The Wall’ campaign, people sent the organizer over $7 million to build the wall privately
- The man behind a GoFundMe campaign that has raised $11 million to build Trump’s wall also ran a conspiracy-theory page that got kicked off Facebook
- Someone created a GoFundMe campaign to ‘buy ladders’ to counter the fundraiser created to pay for Trump’s border wall
- ‘This golf course was built by illegals’: Unauthorized immigrants who reportedly worked for Trump illegally say they helped him get to where he is today
- Another government shutdown looms as funding runs out in a week and Democrats are still undecided about Trump’s border well
- Arizona border city threatens to sue Trump administration for covering its 20-foot border wall in ‘lethal’ razor wire
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Source: Business Insider