A crowdfunding effort to raise money to pay for President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall nearly doubled its funds since Thursday afternoon.
By Friday morning, the GoFundMe reached $10.9 million, a full hundredth of the way to its $1 billion goal.
Florida veteran Brian Kolfage, 37, created the fundraiser titled “We The People Will Fund The Wall.”
Kolfage is a senior airman who lost three limbs while while fighting in Iraq in 2004, according to his website. He now works as a motivational speaker and shared his verified Facebook page in the campaign’s description to verify his identity.
“As a veteran who has given so much, 3 limbs, I feel deeply invested to this nation to ensure future generations have everything we have today,” Kolfage wrote. “It’s up to Americans to help out and pitch in to get this project rolling.”
Kolfage claims he says he has been contacted by the Trump Administration, and has “very high level contacts already helping.”
More than 180,000 people contributed over four days with an average donation of about $60.
While some contributed only a few dollars, the highest listed donation was $50,000 from an anonymous donor, followed by $12,000, $10,015 and $10,000.
“Even if we get half, that’s half the wall. We can do this,” Brian Kolfage writes on the verified GoFundMe.
Trump said Wednesday, amid debate over a potential government shutdown, that Mexico would indirectly pay for the wall via a trade deal and that the US military would build it.
Kolfage had the idea about a year ago but decided to move forward Sunday because of “inaction from our politicians,” he told CNN via email. He is surprised by the amount of money he’s been able to raise, he wrote.
“I’ve been receiving thousands of emails from citizens who have waited in line to become Americans and completed this process the legal way. They are so thankful for this,” he wrote. “They are giving and they are from both sides of the aisle, and that’s why this movement is growing so fast.”
While the campaign has a goal of $1 billion, the Destin, Florida, man who lost both legs and his right hand in Iraq says $1 billion is GoFundMe’s max and he’s working to have it increased. The most successful GoFundMe effort to date has raised more than $22 million and counting in the last year for the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, which provides counsel to victims of sexual abuse and harassment.
A call to stop ‘illegals’
The grandson of immigrants who arrived in the United States “legally,” he says, Kolfage is working with the White House to establish a point of contact for the money. US Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Mississippi, plans to introduce a bill directing the Treasury Department to issue bonds to fund the wall, though there are other options “on the table,” Kolfage says on the GoFundMe page.
“We haven’t spoken directly to the President but would like to,” he told CNN via email. “After all, this is for his campaign promise. The people are yelling, and I hope he listens.”
The veteran is working with a law firm to craft a binding document to ensure all money goes to the wall, and if the goal isn’t reached, all donations will be refunded, he said.
Saying that the President has “followed through on just about every promise” he made in his campaign, Kolfage says it’s every citizen’s duty to help Trump overcome Democratic resistance to the wall and “make America safe again.”
“Too many Americans have been murdered by illegal aliens and too many illegals are taking advantage of the United States taxpayers with no means of ever contributing to our society,” the husband and father says in soliciting donations.
While it’s unusual for Americans to kick in money above what they pay in taxes for government functions, it is not unheard of. Financier David Rubenstein has donated tens of millions to restore the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Arlington House and US Marine Corps War Memorial as well as give the National Zoo $9 million for its panda conservation efforts.