Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday February 11, 2022
Trump backers seize on GoFundMe controversy as truckers linger in U.S. headline
An outsized American display of financial largesse, political support and right-wing media sympathy for ongoing trucker protests in Canada have observers in both countries accusing some in the U.S. of fanning the flames for their own partisan gain.
For more than a week, viewers of Trump-friendly platforms like Fox News, Newsmax and One America News have been getting something exceedingly rare in the U.S. media landscape: regular doses of Canadian coverage.
And prominent Republican lawmakers like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz spent the weekend seizing on last week’s controversy over the crowdfunding platform GoFundMe to keep the story alive.
DeSantis and Cruz both want GoFundMe investigated after it froze roughly $9 million in donations earmarked for the ongoing Ottawa protest, then announced Friday it would issue refunds upon request or distribute the money to charities chosen by the protest organizers.
The company reversed course within hours “due to donor feedback,” promising automatic refunds. But attorneys general in Florida, Texas, West Virginia and Louisiana – Republicans all – nonetheless urged donors to come forward in the name of launching investigations.
For Bruce Heyman, a former U.S. ambassador to Canada under Barack Obama, it all smacks of foreign interference, and he believes Trump is at its centre.
“I do not believe that Americans should fund disruptive activities in Canada. Ever. Full stop,” Heyman said in an interview Monday.