Trump’s #MAGA crowd doesn’t hate all black people. For example, they love it when a black person comes out as being on their side, like when Kanye West was getting all buddy-buddy with Trump. They are just so desperate to prove they’re not racist.
They’ve also been pushing the #WalkAway campaign, which urges minorities and Democrats to become Republicans.
That explains why it’s possible that a young black woman on Twitter who pretended to be part of the MAGA crew could con Republicans out of a whole lot of money. Over $150,000, according to her claims.
The woman, @chckpeas on Twitter, posed as a Trump supporter by tweeting a picture of herself in a “Make America Great Again” bucket hat, along with the text, “I will not hide any longer, the left has made us feel as if black republicans should hide!! but not anymore!! #BlacksFor Trump, #WalkAway #maga.”
Her tweet got pretty big (it was retweeted over 8,000 times), and she sent a follow-up tweet not too long afterward in which she revealed that she’d set up a GoFundMe for herself, claiming that her parents cut her off after seeing her initial tweet and were refusing to pay for her college.
(For a few of the tweets, I’m going to rely on screenshots tweeted by Australian reporter Alex Bruce-Smith, who dubbed the story “the scam of the century.”)
The young woman sent out a link to the GoFundMe page, writing, “thank you all so much for your overwhelming support. After seeing this tweet my parents cut me off and refuse to pay my university tuition. So if you can find it in your hearts to help this young, black republican pay for school it would be appreciated.” She also included an emoji of the American flag. Man, she laid it on thick.
In another one of the screenshots taken by Bruce-Smith, @chckpeas tweeted what appeared to be texts between her and mother, in which her mother was throwing her out of the house for coming out as a Republican. In the texts, the young woman claims she only works part-time and wouldn’t be able to afford rent. Along with screengrabs of the text, @chckpeas had written, “this morning is getting worse and worse.”
And from there, a scam was born.
But it didn’t last long. Just a few hours after she claimed that her family had basically disowned her, @chckpeas tweeted that she was far from a fan of Trump and that Republicans are racist.
According to Bruce-Smith, there was a tweet from @chckpeas indicating that the GoFundMe she’d set up for herself got her about $150,000 from gullible Republicans. The GoFundMe has been taken down.
The next day, @chckpeas tweeted, “hot take: stealing from republicans isn’t bad because republicans aren’t ppl.” And according to another screengrab from Bruce-Smith, she’d already done a little shopping with the money, tweeting, “… anyways just ordered my iPhone XS max yall want sum from the apple store??”
In another tweet, @chckpeas claimed that she’d managed to raise enough money to pay for her “tuition, rent, and 17 iphones now.”
Needless to say, people on Twitter bowed down to her ultimate trolling prowess.
BUT is it true? Well, not really, according to New York magazine. When the publication asked the woman (whose gave her name as Quran) how much she took in from the GoFundMe, she at first answered, “That’s between me and the IRS.” But when asked for an estimate, she immediately confessed that she actually really hadn’t taken anything. She said,
“That’s the thing though: I didn’t. I just felt really weird about taking their money. This could go south really fast, I just decided to refund everyone and give their money back. I think it was like maybe $200 at that point.”
She sent some screenshots that supported that claim, showing that GoFundMe had refunded three transactions, totalling $90.
She continued, “I just honestly didn’t want to take their money. Yeah, I can’t pay for school but I don’t want Republican money to pay for it. I just want everyone to think I’m the finesse queen, which I am.” Holy moly, yes, she is! Hero!
Here’s a little more info about the brains behind the (almost) scam. She IS in school—she studies art history at Howard University but she’s taking the semester off. She found the MAGA hat (which is admittedly sort of strange to find on the campus of an HBCU) when she went back to school to see her friends for homecoming. She claims that mostly she just wanted to troll a bit, you know, get into some Twitter fights, but instead, she started receiving tons of responses from the Trump Train. “It was just straight Republicans all in the comments who were so proud of me. It was weird. It was very unnerving,” she said.
So, after speaking to a friend, the idea for the GoFundMe took off. She explained, “A lot of Republicans have this idea that everyone thinks Republicans are mostly racist and they’re really desperate to get that stigma off of them. I just felt like capitalizing on that.”
Her only regret seems to be that, according to New York mag, she wishes a better picture of her had gotten viral.