I am now beginning to understand why Donald Trump doesn’t want to debate anybody. His latest entrepreneurial venture, Truth Social, is on its way to joining Trump Steaks. Trump Vodka, Trump Airlines, etc., ad infinitum, in the graveyard. The timing on this could not be better — or worse, if you happen to be Trump. Truth Social has enough money to run until summer, possibly into fall and then KABLOOM!
And it is going to be massively ugly. For a presidential candidate, even the supposedly Teflon, bullet proof Trump to have something this big blow, let alone in the fall runup to the 2024 caucuses, is going to be extraordinary to watch. And we have a front row seat.
Now if you listen to Devin Nunes and Donald Trump, everything is fine, just fine. Nunes said in an interview this month that the site is “blowing up the status quo,” and Trump said in a recent “truth” that it has allowed him to “get the word out like never before. As soon as I ‘speak’ on Truth, the WORD immediately spreads everywhere. MAGA!” Yes, Trump has a religious experience speaking “the WORD” everyday. Here’s yesterday’s proclamation about how wonderful it all is, “one of the most important ‘Voices’ in the Universe,” along with the ones Trump hears in his head.
We’ll do just that, we’ll watch, and here’s what we’re going to see. It may be a voice of universal significance to Trump but Truth Social is the 2,479th most popular website in the United States, according to Similarweb — viewed less often than the animal-news blog The Dodo, an AARP games webpage and, as Jimmy Kimmel noted on his late-night show, a website for photos of celebrities’ feet.
And the site is in trouble, bigly. It was a post-presidency brainstorm by two former Apprentice contestants and a guy named Will Wilkerson. The three met with Trump over cheeseburgers at Mar-a-Lago. Since then, Wilkerson has become a whistleblower to the SEC and currently works as a barista trainer at Starbucks for $16 an hour. Washington Post:
The early hype of Trump Media had made it into a financial blockbuster. An initial public offering raised $300 million for Digital World, while a group of private investors pledged another $1 billion. Investors had sent the stock price of the SPAC soaring to a high of $175 on the strength of its proposed merger with Trump Media. In September, shortly before Wilkerson’s firing, Forbes magazine had estimated that Trump’s stake in Trump Media was his “single most valuable asset,” worth roughly $730 million.
In the months since, the venture’s value has nosedived. Each Digital World share is now worth about $13. In a financial disclosure filing this month, as required by his new presidential candidacy, Trump said Trump Media was worth between $5 million and $25 million and that his income from it had been less than $200.
Not sure how you get less than $200 from an asset that’s worth at least $5 million but why split hairs. What we know is that Truth Social is not going to get to 50 million users by 2024. Not when it’s only a fraction of the way there in 2023. Truth Social’s global traffic last month fell to roughly 7 million visits, from it’s peak in August.
What’s going to happen, is that this is going to blow higher than Mt. Vesuvius, and Trump’s investors, many of whom are his supporters, are going to be left holding the bag.
Digital World said in an SEC filing Wednesday that it is cooperating with investigations by the SEC and the Department of Justice as well as an inquiry from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority related to events from before the SPAC declared its intention to merge with Trump Media in 2021. […]
With its Trump Media deal frozen by the pending investigation, Digital World blew through its initial one-year merger deadline, leading the SPAC to try and fail several times to schedule shareholder votes to extend the deadline. Without those votes, the SPAC was forced to borrow millions of dollars from its sponsor, ARC Global Investments II, to keep the deal afloat, SEC filings show.
In its filing this week, Digital World said it had accrued more than $17 million in debts by the end of last year, up from $480,000 at the end of 2021, and that its cash on hand had dropped from more than $327,000 to about $989.
Less than a thousand bucks. And going $16.5 million in debt in one year — which makes perfect sense if you are borrowing every month just to keep the lights on and Truth Social was. The man in charge, Patrick Orlando, was doing a kind of Ponzie scheme, staving off the inevitable and hoping that a miracle would occur. He was fired by the Board of Directors on March 19.
But this is the Voice of the Universe, folks. And here’s the death knell.
The SPAC also said it needed to complete the merger or seek further extensions by June 8 or its “existence will terminate,” in which case it would be required to return the money to shareholders. In a filing, the company said it “cannot assure shareholders that there will be sufficient funds” for the purpose of paying for its own liquidation costs or outstanding bills, and that the money in its trust account could “become subject to the claims of our creditors which would have higher priority than the claims of our public stockholders.”
Digital World’s unpaid debts could end up rolling onto the small-time, Trump-loving investors if the deal falls apart, said Michael Ohlrogge, a law professor at New York University who researches SPACs.
“The vast majority of SPACs just don’t rack up these kinds of expenses … and the shareholders could be in some danger of getting pursued by the unpaid vendors,” he said. “It could be an interesting and somewhat fitting end for Trump’s SPAC: that it ends in failure and liquidation and sticks its shareholders — presumably many or most of whom are his political supporters — with the bill.”
Now let me tell you what I see as the poetic beauty of this, the hand of God, if you will: No matter how much Trump screws up, the MAGAs don’t care. They believe him, that it’s all a political hit job. But this situation, the MAGA investors losing their money, they can’t blame on a political hit job — although I’m sure that’s exactly how Trump is going to paint it. No doubt in my mind. What Ma and Pa MAGA are going to know, when they lose their investment, is that their hero let them down. He failed. He’s a phony and a fraud. Some of Trump’s supporters from the past have woken up and getting hit in the pocketbook will wake up more.
And this is going to happen this year. Who knows? Ron DeSantis may ride this tragedy of Trump’s all the way to the top of the GOP ticket. It could happen. If there’s one thing we know about politics in this country nowadays, anything goes.
Trump knows this is happening and so far, this is the only reason I can find why Trump doesn’t want to debate anybody. He just wants to be on the GOP ticket, somehow get elected and then hide in the White House. Too bad it’s not going to happen that way. Although he may end up in a Big House where he will, in fact, be safe. That is possible. One with many doors.