Inside Trump’s ‘Crazy’ TikTok Plan to Court Hyper-Masculine Men

Inside Trump’s ‘Crazy’ TikTok Plan to Court Hyper-Masculine Men

As Donald Trump glides into his tenth year of defying political gravity—Sunday, June 16, will be the ninth anniversary of his golden escalator ride into the 2016 Republican presidential primary—his campaign is betting on pure vibes and “aura” as a way to attract young men, offsetting his lingering struggles with women voters.

A clear sign of the strategy came this week, in the form of a roughly seven-second video on the campaign’s nascent TikTok page.

Trump once wanted to ban TikTok because of its Chinese ownership but now he has changed his tune. And in his second video on the platform, as the former president stared down a Millennial YouTube star turned professional fighter, as if they were at a weigh-in for some heavyweight bout, lay what could end up being the future of the GOP as the macho man’s party.

“Yo yo yo yo, I’m scared!” said Logan Paul, 29, breaking character in his short face-off with the former president, who turns 78 on Friday.

Among voters who will decide the 2024 election, the vast majority likely have no idea who Paul is. Yet the Trump campaign is hammering away at a counterintuitive and risky strategy: betting big on young, non-college-educated men to put their candidate over the top in his rematch with President Joe Biden.

One GOP strategist, requesting anonymity to discuss a strategy some party insiders admit could prove either a stroke of genius or a historic blunder, told The Daily Beast: “There is what I would call ‘Barstool Sports vote’: young men who are not hyper-political, love sports, are anti-woke, and are attracted to Trump’s aura and persona.

“Whether it’s Logan Paul, showing up at UFC fights with [CEO] Dana White and the entourage— there’s a serious appeal there.”

Women For Trump groups exist across the country, as the former president retains his most ardent female fans. But instead of seeking to narrow a gender gap between Trump and Biden, the Trump campaign appears to be doubling down.

“I definitely don’t think that’s the way to go,” a longtime Republican presidential campaign adviser, a woman, told The Daily Beast. “They’re crazy to go for men, because women are gonna decide this election.”

The Trump campaign disagrees. Strongly.

Steven Cheung, the former president’s main spokesperson, went from working on Republican campaigns for the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger and the late Sen. John McCain to flacking for UFC and then climbing to the top of Trumpworld.

Cheung told The Daily Beast in an email the campaign will “leave no front undefended.” The Logan Paul TikTok, he said, “represents the continued outreach to a younger audience consuming pro-Trump and anti-Biden content.”

Trump’s first TikTok, from 2 June, showed him with White, attending a UFC event.

Cheung said: “There was no place better than a UFC event to launch President Trump’s TikTok, where he received a hero’s welcome and thousands of fans cheered him on.”

Trump has endured boos from a UFC crowd, at a November 2019 bout at Madison Square Garden in New York.

But Cheung continued: “The [TikTok] video he posted went immediately viral garnering over 100 million views in just a few hours as he has gained over 6 million followers since the launch. The new video with Logan Paul continues that outreach to a new, younger audience that have gravitated towards President Trump and the content surrounding him.”

The move from the Trump campaign highlights an emerging trend. Young men and young women are increasingly drifting apart in their political views, a phenomenon with implications for both online dating and the future of U.S. democracy itself.

Trump is “attracting more people like himself, that’s where I think that crosses over,” the GOP presidential campaign veteran told The Daily Beast. “It’s getting a little bit out of hand.”

Then she corrected herself.

“I think it was already out of hand. I mean, you know how I feel about January 6th? I do believe he incited that. And can you imagine how angry he’s going to be if he doesn’t win this time? So I mean, you can’t expect something good to come from it, but maybe if it reaches a peak, that’ll be what it takes to have people come back to sanity.”

Brown Checks Boxes

After winning his primary on Tuesday, Sam Brown, a former U.S. Army officer who was badly wounded in Afghanistan in 2008, is the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Nevada—a key battleground state.

But though Brown loves railing against government spending and efforts to improve diversity in higher education and the military, he himself received millions of dollars in federal aid for disadvantaged businesses, in one instance seeing his own Native American heritage help him secure more cash, The Daily Beast can report.

Sam Brown, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, speaks in Las Vegas.

Chase Stevens/Getty Images

Since entering politics, Brown has pitched himself as a strong MAGA Republican who will take no guff from big government. Adamant about the need to cut “reckless” federal spending which he says is “destroying this country,” he has promised to seek “painful” cuts to federal spending should he defeat the incumbent Nevada Democrat, Sen. Jacky Rosen, in the general election in November.

But according to government records viewed by the Beast, from 2019 to 2022 Brown’s business, Palisade Strategies, racked up 26 government contracts, allowing him to receive up to $8.3 million.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Brown, the only Palisade employee at the time, secured a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan for $20,832. ProPublica’s Tracking PPP log shows $16,000 of the loan listed as going toward payroll costs, $750 for rent, and another $3,400 toward debt payment.

On the campaign trail, Brown has also taken aim at initiatives to promote diversity, equity and inclusion, widely known as DEI, throughout American life. Decrying “how many ‘diversity’ checkboxes” have crept into everyday affairs, he has described such initiatives as divisive, particularly in the military in which he served.

In December 2021, Brown tweeted about how “identity politics gave birth to the ‘woke’ movement which is now re-segregating society as we speak,” and said people should judge someone “on their actions, not by how many ‘diversity’ checkboxes they can fill in!”

Brown himself, however, has checked diversity boxes. Identified as a member of the Cherokee Nation in a 2023 National Review article, he spent several years taking advantage of hefty government contracts, including one in which “enrolled members of a state recognized Indian tribe” were deemed to have “socially disadvantaged” status.

Starting in 2014, Brown registered Palisade Strategies—where he was founder and CEO from 2012 to 2022—under the government’s SAM procurement system as an “American Indian Owned” organization, followed by similar indicators including the firm being “American Indian Owned,” “Minority Owned,” “Native American Owned,” an “Indian Economic Enterprise,” and an “Indian Small Business Economic Enterprise,” according to government records.

In response to a request for comment, Kristy Wilkinson, Brown’s communications director, told The Daily Beast in a text message: “Sam Brown, a wounded veteran and member of the Cherokee Nation, started a small business that helped thousands of veterans. Conflating programs designed to help Native Americans create jobs with the radical agenda being forced on the Pentagon is not only offensive, it is exactly the kind of political nonsense that Americans are sick and tired of.”

Out on the trail, in his Nevada primary, Brown had been in dire need of a Donald Trump endorsement. He finally got one on Sunday.

“Sam Brown is a FEARLESS AMERICAN PATRIOT, a Purple Heart Recipient, who has proven he has the ‘PURE GRIT’ and COURAGE to take on our Enemies, both Foreign and Domestic,” Trump wrote in a post on Truth Social announcing the endorsement—unusually, and to the chagrin of Brown’s primary opponent, after the presumptive Republican nominee held a rally in Las Vegas.

Back in 2022, Brown missed out on the Trump endorsement in favor of Nevada political dynasty heir Adam Laxalt, a longtime friend and former roommate of Florida Gov Ron DeSantis.

Now, as Brown has risen to the Republican nomination in Nevada, Democrats have focused on how he, an Arkansas native, previously ran for office in Texas.

“He just wants to win a primary, win this Senate seat,” Rosen told KTVN 2 News two weeks ago. “Trust me, he’s not from Nevada. He doesn’t know what Nevadans want.”

Rocking Trump’s Boat

There are few things more cherished in MAGA nation than a Trump boat flotilla, a trend which began during the COVID pandemic and became a staple of the movement.

With a boat parade scheduled for Trump’s birthday on Friday in Michigan, from Lake St. Clair heading north along the Detroit river, the Democratic National Committee thinks it has found a way to spoil the party.

The MAGA faithful Trump refers to as “beautiful boaters” will celebrate his arrival in the city to speak but are set to be greeted by a sky banner reading “Trump’s a Crook, Don’t Let Em Sink Ur Boat,” The Daily Beast can exclusively report.

“Donald Trump must hate the fact that his birthday celebration plans are being overshadowed by his new status as a crook in the eyes of the law and the eyes of Michiganders,” DNC spokesperson Stephanie Justice told The Daily Beast, referring to Trump’s recent conviction in New York, on 34 charges related to the falsification of business records.

“This weekend, Michigan voters will be reminded of how Trump is unfit to lead,” Justice added, “not only as a convict, but as a failed leader who left working families behind during his first term. Trump will continue to prop up his extreme, anti-freedom agenda and attack democracy in Detroit, but Michiganders know better than to listen to a crook who always puts his own interests first.”

The banner will fly over the parade route for three hours, from 1pm to 4pm, according to the DNC. But the trolling won’t stop there.

An increasingly major emphasis of the DNC’s messaging is repeating over and over again that the former president is a convicted felon.

As Trump makes his way to this weekend’s Turning Point Action’s MAGA convention in Detroit, the DNC is putting up English and Spanish-language billboards reminding metro area drivers “Trump and his fellow crooks are in Detroit asking for your vote. But it’s just a scam. They don’t care about you. They’re just out for themselves.”

The DNC has bought four billboard spots, along Interstates 94, 75, and 96 and M-10 at the corner of Wyoming Avenue.

“It’s fitting Donald Trump, returning to Michigan for the first time since being convicted on 34 felony counts, chooses to stand alongside his fellow crooks Steve Bannon and Roger Stone to promote an extreme, far-right agenda at a gathering of some of the most notorious of Trump’s MAGA minions,” Justice said, referring to Bannon and Stone’s planned attendance at the conference in Detroit.

Justice described Trump as “a white-collar crook who broke promise after promise to Michiganders as president and scammed working families to give tax cuts to his billionaire friends,” and reiterated Democrats’ focus on painting Trump and the GOP as extremists.

“Led by Trump, extremism has become the brand of the Republican Party, and Michiganders will see right through his lies and dangerous vision for America’s future,” Justice said.

Off the beaten path

Biden Targets Latin Voters

The Biden campaign is targeting the Latino vote with a seven-figure ad buy across the battleground states.

President Biden narrates the 30-second spot, which starts out showing a photo of him as a young boy.

“When I was a young man, my family left our hometown so dad could find a decent job,” the president says. “I know what it’s like to struggle.”

The ad pivots to showing a Latino woman looking at a barren refrigerator, bearing only a depleted bottle of Tabasco, a jar of tomato sauce, some salad dressing, a yogurt container and a tinfoil-wrapped sandwich.

“I know American families are fighting every day to get by,” Biden says.

Then comes an image of a child sitting on the living room floor watching Trump on an old-fashioned, standard-definition TV.

“That’s why no one, especially a billionaire like Donald Trump, will stop me from fighting to lower the costs of food and rent,” Biden says.

The ad will also run in Spanish on TV, radio and digital platforms, the Biden campaign said.

“Hardworking Latinos shouldn’t be struggling with high costs while massive corporations and billionaires see record profits and salaries,” Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez told The Daily Beast in a statement.

“The same can’t be said for Donald Trump, a white-collar criminal convicted of 34 felonies, who is spending his time on the campaign trail gleefully courting the ultra-wealthy and special interests for donations while offering to do whatever the billionaires who pad his pockets want him to do.”

Campaign Lit

You sure about that? Minnesota GOP Senate hopeful Royce White claims “I’m current on my child support,” but Roger Sollenberger and Mini Racker uncovered a deadbeat dad owing more than $100,000 in such payments.

Oh, he’s mad. White responded to Roger and Mini’s reporting by saying his “​​left nut gets more media attention” than The Daily Beast.

‘Losers’ and ‘suckers.’ Jake Lahut dove into why two insults Trump loves dishing out seem to drive him up the wall when he gets them in return.

The art of the shitpost. Jake also reported on the anatomy of a smear campaign against President Biden—who did not, in fact, poop his pants in Normandy.

Rigged in reverse. The MAGA faithful somehow managed to find a way to get mad about the Hunter Biden conviction, Pilar Melendez reports.

The Daily Beast

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