Q&A of the Day – Who is Behind the DeSantis “Pudding Fingers” Ad?

Q&A of the Day – Who is Behind the DeSantis “Pudding Fingers” Ad?  

Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods.   

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com  

Social: @brianmuddradio    

iHeartRadio: Use the Talkback feature – the microphone button on our station’s page in the iHeart app.    

Today’s Entry: Hi Brian. I’m disgusted by the scorched earth Trump campaign against DeSantis. Pudding fingers? Really! The ad is as disgusting as the intent behind it. I want to make sure I don’t financially support that campaign. How is it being funded? Thanks. This is already ugly and DeSantis isn’t even in yet! 

Bottom Line: Yeah, there’s no doubt that the recent release of the “Pudding Fingers” ad rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. And yes, while Donald Trump has taken regular cracks at Ron DeSantis since last fall, preceding Florida’s November elections, this new ad campaign would appear to be the most controversial yet as the Trump team is looking to blunt the anticipated DeSantis presidential campaign announcement which is expected after the conclusion of Florida’s state legislative session which closes May 5th. So, in addressing today’s question, who specifically is behind the “Pudding Fingers” ad? 

Former President Donald Trump isn’t directly behind the ad, however those closest to him are the one’s behind it, and there’s little doubt Trump would have been aware of and likely supportive of it. MAGA Inc., which is one of multiple Trump-affiliated PACs, is the Political Action Committee behind the sticky fingers' ad in question. Of the Trump affiliated PACs, this is the newest one. It was created September 23rd of last year with an original function of supporting Trump-backed candidates in the final weeks leading up to the midterm elections. The PAC is led by Trump’s active communications director, Taylor Budowich, which speaks to how closely aligned to Donald Trump this PAC happens to be. That said, as a PAC, it’s legally required to not directly coordinate with candidates. With Trump an officially declared candidate, there is plausible deniability that he himself, wasn’t behind the concept. In fact, it’d be illegal if he was. That said, as long as Taylor Budowich remains Trump’s Comm’s director, you’d imagine he does approve of the message... 

Until the recent attack campaign on DeSantis, MAGA Inc.’s ads had all been in favor of Republican candidates or in opposition to Democrats. The DeSantis attack campaign is the first to have targeted a Republican, marking a shift in the objectives of the PAC. As for where the funding comes from. As of the most recent reporting it had taken in a total of $73 million. Of that, 16 individuals had contributed directly to it (none of which are Trumps), with the balance coming from two other Trump-affiliated PACs – Save America and Make America Great Again, Again, Inc. So, what does all of this mean if it's your intention not to end up supporting the PAC that’s behind the “Pudding Fingers” ad? 

Direct contributions to Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign aren’t directly linked to the production and dissemination of the anti-DeSantis ads, however most of the ways his political network receives money, a la merchandise sales are. For example, the merchandise for sale on Trump’s official campaign website are distributed this way as is stated on the site: Trump Save America JFC is a joint fundraising committee on behalf of Donald J. Trump for President 2024, Inc. and Save America. Joint fundraising proceeds shall be allocated among the committees as follows: 90% to Donald J. Trump for President 2024, Inc. (2024 primary election), 10% to Save America, and any contribution exceeding the legal amount that may be contributed to either of the Committees will be allocated to Donald J. Trump for President 2024, Inc. (2024 general election).  

It’s probably unlikely, at least for now, that many who’re especially turned off by the DeSantis attack ads are thinking about directly donating to the Trump campaign, however in the event that’s what you want to do without directing support the DeSantis hit pieces, a direct political donation to Trump’s campaign may be the only way to ensure your money wouldn’t end up supporting anti-DeSantis campaigning.  

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