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21-year-old made thousands from donations to fake 'Gay Voices for Trump' group

21-year-old made thousands from donations to fake 'Gay Voices for Trump' group
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A 21-year-old supporter of President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump vows 'No more money for RINOS,' instead encouraging donations to his PAC Federal judge rules 'QAnon shaman' too dangerous to be released from jail Pelosi says Capitol riot was one of the most difficult moments of her career MORE brought in more than $7,000 in donations through Twitter under the auspices of a fictional organization called Gay Voices for Trump, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.

Josh Hall of Mechanicsburg, Pa., told the Times that since February he has maintained several Twitter accounts purporting to be relatives of the president, including his late brother Robert, his youngest son Barron and his sister Elizabeth Trump Grau.

Trump himself tweeted a link from a conservative site related to the Grau account after it sent tweets supporting his attempts to overturn the results of the presidential election.

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“I was like, ‘Oh, my goodness. He actually thinks it’s his sister,’ ” Hall told the Times. “There was no nefarious intention behind it. I was just trying to rally up MAGA supporters and have fun.”

Hall has also used the various online identities to promote conspiracy theories, such as one about microchips being implanted in Americans and another — popular among followers of the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory — that the late John F. Kennedy Jr. is still alive. He also spread misinformation about the coronavirus, impersonating White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah BirxDeborah BirxFauci defends Birx: 'She had to live in the White House' CNN's Brianna Keilar calls out Birx 'apology tour' Biden to name nurse as acting surgeon general: report MORE to claim that the pandemic was “plotted by the powers that be to crash our economy in hopes that Trump will pay for it in November.”

The accounts collectively have more than 160,000 followers, many of whom boosted the fundraiser for the nonexistent Gay Voices for Trump and brought in about $7,300. Twitter has since removed the accounts.

Hall told the Times that GoFundMe still has the money, and the company said it will grant a refund to anyone who asks for one.

He said he began the impersonation spree after the platform suspended his personal account, which Twitter said was for creating multiple accounts under multiple identities. His first such account purported to be former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D), whose prison sentence for attempting to sell former President Obama’s Senate seat had just been commuted by Trump.

“Once I got banned from Twitter, my attitude was kind of like, ‘What the hell, I’m just going to have fun now,’ ” he told the newspaper.