Did Donald Trump really pay people $50 a piece to cheer at his presidential announcement?

Did Donald Trump really pay people $50 a piece to cheer at his presidential announcement?
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What is the sound of one Invisible Hand of the Free Market clapping?

Did Donald Trump really pay people $50 a piece to cheer at his presidential announcement?

You may have heard that Neil Young was none too pleased when he found out that his 1989 power anthem "Rockin' in the Free World" had been defiled by Donald Trump during his presidential announcement. You may have also heard that Trump used his moment in the spotlight as an opportunity to put forward a pet belief of his that Mexico is pushing its "drugs, crime and rapists" into the United States.

Believe it or not, neither of those two things are actually the most controversial aspect of Trump's big announcement. The actual controversy here is this: how in the world did Donald Trump get a roomful of people to cheer for the idea of him as president? Witness the perplexing display of applause from real life humans in this video here:

The answer to this great mystery looks like its a bit more prosaic than you might initially suspect: he very probably paid them:

"We are looking to cast people for the event to wear t-shirts and carry signs and help cheer him in support of his announcement," reads [a June 12 casting notice] obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. "We understand this is not a traditional 'background job,' but we believe acting comes in all forms and this is inclusive of that school of thought."

Of course! It makes perfect sense. It almost makes too much sense, really. Trump has much more money than he has charisma, so why not just exchange some of that money for a little bit of mass adoration? Do you really think that this is appreciably different than the way he handles his personal relationships? You don't suspect that people spend time near him because they want to, do you?

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Please! Don't be naive.

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