Trump Rally Leaves Fla. Tea Party $6,000 in Debt

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In April, the South Florida Tea Party scored a coup by landing Donald Trump to headline its Tax Day tea party rally. The get made national news, coming as it did in the midst of the media frenzy around a possible Trump presidential race. Everett Wilkinson, head of the tea party group, told the Daily Caller, “Our members are ecstatic” about Trump’s participation. They may not be quite so ecstatic now, though.

Fast forward a few months. Trump has dropped out of the race as a flash-in-the-pan candidate, and the South Party Tea Party is on the hook for $6,000 in unpaid bills owed to the city of Boca Raton for costs associated with the rally. The Sun Sentinel reports:

The Tea Party agreed to pay Bob’s Barricades for barricades to block off Sanborn Square, but failed to do so before the rally, Assistant City Manager Mike Woika said.

“The police still needed those barricades for the demonstration, so we had them put up,” he said.

The city last month sent the Tea Party invoices for $3,052 for the barricades and $3,093 for police services, but the group has not paid those bills, Woika said.

“We’ve received the invoices and we’re working on paying them,” South Florida Tea Party Chairman Everett Wilkinson said.

Boca Raton will pay the $6,145 out of the city budget if the Tea Party doesn’t come through, and the city probably won’t pursue legal action to recoup a loss, Woika said. However,” he said, “should they want to have another rally here, that would certainly be something we would look negatively upon, if they don’t pay the invoice.”

The debt problem is not likely to endear Wilkinson to tea partiers in Florida, many of whom already distrust him because of some of his earlier publicity stunts. In February, Wilkinson was circulating emails to tea party activists suggesting that Sarah Palin would be speaking at a Tea Party Patriots policy summit in Phoenix and announcing her presidential candidacy there. Palin was never going to attend the summit, and some tea partiers believed Wilkinson was simply sending out the Palin-rumor emails to drive traffic to his own website, Tea Party Wire.

Still, it’s hard not to chuckle a little about a tea party group going in to debt to provide a platform for billionaire Trump. After all, they’ve been screaming loudly for two years that the federal government should behave like, well, tea partiers, who of course never, ever mismanage their household finances and go into debt they can’t pay back. 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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