There are scores of wealthy political activists spending their money on efforts to keep Donald Trump out of the White House, but one Alabama businessman is going global with his message.
Stan Pate, a millionaire real estate developer from Tuscaloosa, is the man behind a pair of satirical full-page ads that ran last week in two nations with no electoral say in the outcome of the 2016 campaign: Mexico and Korea.
Pate’s anti-Trump political action committee, We The People Foundation, sponsored a full-page ad Sunday in Mexican newspaper El National. The ad pictured a fictional invoice from Trump to the Mexican government for "the beautiful, wonderful Trump wall on the Mexican border."
"Past due!" blared the notice, which requested payment of $16 trillion.
The other ad, which appeared in the Seoul-based Korea Herald (as well as in its Korean-language publication distributed in the U.S.), offered "NUCLEAR BOMBS FOR SALE!" and promised "magnificent, beautiful, spectacular" bombs available from seller Donald Trump.
A disclaimer at the bottom of the ads describes them as satire and directs readers to the website AnybodyButTrump.Us. A report filed with the Federal Election Commission showed that Pate spent $12,240 for the ad in Mexico and $6,300 for the Korean placements.
Asked in an interview why he chose to make the appeals primarily on foreign soil — and not to an audience of eligible U.S. voters — Pate said that he hopes his warnings make readers in those countries sound the alarm to their families and friends in the United States about the dangers of Trump.
"Hopefully they begin to communicate and certainly begin a discussion about this wall," he said of Mexicans who might have seen the fake border wall invoice when perusing the newspaper on Sunday.
Pate also confirmed that the group drafted ads for publishing in the U.K., Brussels and Israel but was unable to place the advertisements because of “time and structural issues.”
The organization also tried to run the ad about nuclear bombs in Japan “but Japanese newspapers wouldn’t take it,” Pate said, later explaining: “They know first-hand about nuclear weapons.”
The Alabama businessman is no newcomer to political spending — or to anti-Trump efforts. He sponsored skywriting over the Rose Bowl early this year, projecting the message “Donald Trump is disgusting” across the Pasadena sky. He’s also spent millions on political campaigns in his home state of Alabama, and he dabbled with a run for governor in 2002 as a Republican or independent.
The satirical content of his new ads, Pate said, was a way to jar readers into thinking about the consequences of electing a president he thinks would wreck the economy with his mass deportation plan and prompt dangerous nuclear proliferation.
"Getting the public’s attention is not easy," Pate said about the unusual strategy. "I want to make sure that I do everything that I can to bring the public’s attention that there are choices here."
Pate, who recalls doing “duck and cover” drills and crouching under desks during the height of the Cold War, has a blunt description of the way Trump talks about foreign policy.
“That’s not the way a leader, or someone who thinks they’re qualified to be president, talks,” he told NBC News. “The man’s mentally ill.”
While he knows he will not cast a vote for Trump, Pate remains unsure how he’ll vote in November. He’s holding out hope that Trump could be ousted by the party at the convention in Cleveland.
“This is very serious business here, electing our next president,” he said. “You can find a lot to dislike about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, but Clinton is more acceptable hands down.”
“But,” he added. “Hopefully those aren’t the only choices.”