we build the wall
Video has surfaced of Steve Bannon openly joking about precisely what he was arrested for doing on Thursday—stealing donors' money for personal use.
The jokes (or perhaps "confession" is the more accurate word) came during a June 2019 telethon for Bannon's organization We Build the Wall, a crowd-funding initiative spearheaded by Bannon to raise money to build a wall on the southern border.
Folks, this really happened. pic.twitter.com/EviEJCGvs7
— John Whitehouse (@existentialfish) August 21, 2020
In the video, Bannon, appearing with alleged co-conspirator Brian Kolfage, jokes about stealing donors' funds to buy a yacht.
"Welcome back, this is Stephen K. Bannon, we're off the coast of Saint-Tropez in Southern France on the Mediterranean. We're on a million-dollar yacht –Brian Kolfage, he took all that money from 'Build the Wall.'"
Kolfage then starts laughing as Bannon continues.
"No, we're actually in Sunland Park, New Mexico."
But the joke, in the end, is on Bannon and Kolfage.
U.S. Attorneys from the Southern District of New York, the Justice Department's branch in the New York City area, allege that Kolfage actually did what Bannon joked about—stole money from the fundraiser and used them, in part, to "make payments toward a boat."
In keeping with the sort of brazenness already shown in this case, Kolfage just weeks ago brought the boat he paid for in part with donors' funds to a July 4 pro-Trump boat parade in Florida.
Bannon was arrested and jailed Thursday morning on fraud charges brought by the federal government.
The Justice Department alleges that Bannon and his associates defrauded "hundreds of thousands of donors" of millions of dollars of donations.
Bannon's We Build the Wall initiative raised over $25 million in total.
Some of that money did go toward the wall, though the SDNY's indictment does not state how much.
On Twitter, many were outraged by Bannon's brazenness.
While others pointed out how the scandal shows a contempt that Trump and his associates hold for his supporters.
But some just couldn't help but laugh at the absurdity and ineptitude.
The Justice Department's indictment also implicates Bannon associates "Andrew Badolato, Timothy Shea and others" as co-conspirators.
Donald Trump's son Donald Trump Jr., along with his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle, were also closely involved in We Build the Wall, though it is unclear if they are a part of the SDNY's indictment.