Former president Donald Trump’s fundraising arm is once again advertising on Facebook after the social media giant banned the ex-president from using the site.
Starting late last week, Save America Joint Fundraising Committee, a joint venture between Trump’s Save America leadership PAC and his Make America Great Again PAC, has spent $3,506 on Facebook ads promoting Trump’s upcoming rally outside Cleveland, Ohio and calling for donations to his fund.
Another ad, targeting President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, asks supporters to donate to “STOP SLEEPY JOE.”
“After just a few months in office, it’s clear that Biden is nothing more than a washed-up, career politician who has no clue what he is doing. There is a CRISIS at our border, gas prices have SKYROCKETED, and America is in DECLINE! Please donate now to show President Trump what you REALLY think about Joe Biden,” the ad says.
The ads link to Trump’s Save America fundraising page, which is run by the Republican digital ad firm WinRed.
The amount of money behind the ads is incredibly small as these expenditures go. But the use of the platform is what’s notable: Trump is fundraising on a mammoth social network that still considers him persona non grata.
Facebook said Monday that Trump’s status on its platforms is unchanged.
“President Trump is suspended from Facebook so he can’t post at all," Andy Stone, a spokesman for the company, said in a statement. "Groups affiliated with the former president are not barred from posting on Facebook so long as they are not posting in his voice."
Earlier this month, Facebook announced it would suspend Trump from its platform for two years — until January 2023 — after which it would reassess whether he should be reinstated. Trump was initially banned from the site for posts that encouraged his supporters to riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
“In establishing the two year sanction for severe violations, we considered the need for it to be long enough to allow a safe period of time after the acts of incitement, to be significant enough to be a deterrent to Mr. Trump and others from committing such severe violations in future, and to be proportionate to the gravity of the violation itself,” said Facebook Vice President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg in a company blog post in June.
The recent expenditures by Save America Joint Fundraising Committee on Facebook underscore that the Trump Facebook suspension was only likeness and voice, and not organizational. Earlier this year, the site took down a video interview Lara Trump conducted with her father-in-law on grounds that he was essentially skirting the ban by getting his words posted through a cut out.
The Facebook page managed by Save America — which posts under the username Team Trump — has continued to post on Facebook following the Capitol Hill riots. But it has hardly exhibited the type of provocative behavior that got Trump himself booted. The last post was in March wishing supporters a happy St. Patrick’s Day.
The new ads also suggest that Trump’s aides recognize the utility of the social media site in organizing and raising money. The Trump campaign relied heavily on Facebook to drive small dollar donations in addition to Trump connecting with his supporters via messages shared to his page.
Exiled from the site, Trump has railed against the social media company and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, and hinted that he wouldn’t return to Facebook even if allowed. “Next time I’m in the White House there will be no more dinners, at his request, with Mark Zuckerberg and his wife. It will be all business!”
Trump also called the ban “an insult to the record-setting 75M people, plus many others, who voted for us in the 2020 Rigged Presidential Election. They shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this censoring and silencing, and ultimately, we will win. Our Country can’t take this abuse anymore!”
Despite the ban, Trump has still continued to have an enormous reach because of Trump-friendly pages like Breitbart News and “President Donald Trump Fan Club” according to a study by the New York Times.
With reporting by Zach Montellaro