GoFundMe said Saturday it would refund more than $100,000 in donations that conservative media personality Matt Walsh helped raise to admittedly troll Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez after she complained that her grandmother’s home in Puerto Rico was still unrepaired from hurricane damage and blamed the situation on former President Donald Trump.
The popular crowdfunding service confirmed it has canceled a campaign that Mr. Walsh, a writer and podcast host for the Daily Wire, had recently created on its platform to both raise money for Ms. Ocasio-Cortez‘s “abuela,” or grandmother, while simultaneously mocking the self-proclaimed democratic socialist from New York, whose Twitter profile includes the line, “In a modern, moral, & wealthy society, no American should be too poor to live.”
Mr. Walsh had created the campaign, “Save AOC’s Abuela’s Ancestral Home,” after Ms. Ocasio-Cortez shared Wednesday that her grandmother’s home in Puerto Rico remains damaged as a result of Hurricane María in 2017.
“Hurricane María relief hasn’t arrived,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said on Twitter, adding former President Trump had blocked aid for the island. “People are being forced to flee ancestral homes, & developers are taking them.”
Mr. Walsh responded to the congresswoman’s tweet, which included photos of the home in Puerto Rico, saying: “Shameful that you live in luxury while allowing your own grandmother to suffer in these squalid conditions.”
“One cannot be certain of the cost to repair grandma’s house, but surely most of the work could be completed for the price of AOC’s shiny Tesla Model 3,” he added on the GoFundMe page he subsequently launched Friday.
The fundraiser had brought in $104,054 in donations as of Saturday morning when Mr. Walsh said that GoFundMe had contacted him to say it was canceling the campaign because the beneficiary did not want the money.
GoFundMe told The Washington Times later Saturday that the beneficiary made clear she did not wish to accept the donations. Donations have been turned off and all donors will be refunded, GoFundMe told The Times.
“It’s pretty fascinating, really. We raised enough to change her grandmother’s life. We could have raised enough to lift her whole neighborhood out of poverty. AOC shut it down. She‘d rather leave people to suffer than accept help from us. Very revealing episode,” Mr. Walsh said in one of several tweets Saturday.
“Was it trolling? Was it a stunt? Was it charitable? Was it proving a point? Was it trying to solve a problem? Was it a sincere attempt to raise money for a cause? Was it mean? Was it nice? Was it hilarious? Yes,” he tweeted.
Mr. Walsh described himself on his blog as “a writer, speaker, author and one of the religious Right’s most influential young voices.” He has frequently picked on Ms. Ocasio-Cortez since she joined Congress in 2019.
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