Brad Parscale had just boarded a Jet Blue flight earlier this month when the paper straw he was using ripped in half. As he tried to keep his iced tea from spilling onto his suit, the annoyed Trump campaign manager tweeted that he was “so over paper straws.” Prodded by his wife not to leave it at that, Parscale emailed his staff from the air with an idea: Let’s sell plastic Trump straws.
The ploy was part of a strategy to stoke and validate the grievances of Trump’s base — and then turn them into hard cash. The straws (they are actually reusable and recyclable) have been a cash cow, generating more than $456,000 in sales since they first became available July 19, according to the campaign. That and other offerings have attracted scores of new donors to the Trump campaign, and helped the president build a massive early financial advantage over Democrats.