Trump's Pre-Insurrection Rally Was Brought To You By The Heiress To The Publix Fortune
Sometimes I like to try and think of things that are actually nicer now than they once were, just to put things in perspective. One of those things is the fact that I now barely know what any heiresses are doing at any given time, ever. This may not seem exactly like a luxury, but the era of celebutante gossip with all its associated reality shows and nonstop paparazzi pictures of the spoiled children of billionaires walking around in Juicy Couture sweatpants while sipping on Venti lattes is not one that I miss. Sure, you have your Kardashians, and of course the Trump spawn, and surely there are lots of heiress influencers that I don't even know about, but it's not the "thing" it once was, and for that I am grateful.
For instance, I had no idea who the hell Julie Jenkins Fancelli was until the news came this morning that the Publix heiress had, along with Alex Jones, funded the January 6 Trump rally that lead to people storming the Capitol. While there were several different rallies happening that day, this is the one Trump spoke at, the one where he urged people to go to the Capitol in order to give Republican lawmakers the "pride and boldness" they needed to object to the certifying the vote.
Mr. Jones personally pledged more than $50,000 in seed money for a planned Jan. 6 event in exchange for a guaranteed "top speaking slot of his choice," according to a funding document outlining a deal between his company and an early organizer for the event.
Mr. Jones also helped arrange for Julie Jenkins Fancelli, a prominent donor to the Trump campaign and heiress to the Publix Super Markets Inc. chain, to commit about $300,000 through a top fundraising official for former President Donald Trump's 2020 campaign, according to organizers. Her money paid for the lion's share of the roughly $500,000 rally at the Ellipse where Mr. Trump spoke.
Apparently, Fancelli contacted Jones herself and was like "Hey! Hear you guys are going to try to overturn the election! Take my money, please!" and he then put her in touch with Women for America First.
Publix has since put out a statement saying that Julie Jenkins Fancelli is not an employee and they are not responsible for what she does with her money.
Mrs. Fancelli is not an employee of Publix Super Markets, and is neither involved in our business operations, nor does she represent the company in any way. We cannot comment on Mrs. Fancelli's actions.
The violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6 was a national tragedy. The deplorable actions that occurred that day do not represent the values, work or opinions of Publix Super Markets.
This is probably true. However, Publix is a privately held company owned by the Jenkins family, as well as current and former employees. It is the largest employee-owned business in the world, and that's really awesome, actually, unlike Julie Jenkins Fancelli who hangs around with Alex Jones and funds insurrections.
Lots of people are drawing a line from Fancelli's involvement with the January 6 event to the fact that Ron DeSantis gave Publix pharmacies exclusive rights to distribute COVID vaccines, but we cannot confirm that at this time, or probably any other time. It's unlikely it was a quid pro quo situation with the rally in particular, but if Fancelli is donating her money that she gets from Publix's profits to Republicans and they are in turn rewarding Publix with exclusive rights to the vaccine ... that's pretty sketchy.
The funding for these events doesn't come from nowhere. As much as Trump voters like to position themselves as the "forgotten Americans" and LARP as blue collar everyday people, many of them are absurdly wealthy and more than happy to use that wealth in service of their cause.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse