Remember Trump’s ‘USA Freedom Kids’? Now they’re suing the Trump campaign for non-payment

Back in January, the media had a field day when the “USA Freedom Kids” performed at a Donald Trump rally in Pensacola, Florida. The routine was mocked as being oddly reminiscent of North Korean children being forced to perform for their Dear Leader.

Regardless, the trio became a viral sensation overnight. Trump claimed to love them so much, he said he had their CD on a loop.

But things are much different now. According to the Washington Post, Jeff Popick, who is the father of the shortest Freedom Kid (second from the right in the video), said he is planning to file a lawsuit against the Trump campaign for violating its agreement with the group.

“This is not a billion-dollar lawsuit,” Popick said. “I’m doing this because I think they have to do the right thing. And if this means having to go through the court system to enforce them doing the right thing, then that’s what I have to do. I’m not looking to do battle with the Trump campaign, but I have to show my girls that this is the right thing.”

According to Popick there was no written agreement, only promises that were broken by the Trump camp.

From the Post:

It started in Pensacola. When Popick first reached out to the Trump campaign about performing, he spoke with various people including former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. His understanding from the campaign was that the Kids would make two appearances in Florida, where Popick lives. The first event didn’t come to fruition, and Popick says he asked for $2,500 in payment for the second performance, in Pensacola. The campaign made a counter-offer: How about a table where the group could pre-sell albums? Popick took the deal.

But when they showed up, there was no table. Everything was “complete chaos” and Trump’s people “clearly had made no provisions for that.”

When he tried to contact the campaign afterwards, he was completely ignored. Popick said that in addition to expenses he incurred for promotional materials that the table was supposed to provide, he lost opportunities to promote his daughter’s group due to his severed contacts with the Trump campaign.

Soon after, a campaign representative suddenly called Popick to see if the group would like to perform at a campaign event for veterans. Seeing it as an opportunity to recoup his losses, he readily agreed. The event was to be held in Des Moines, Iowa, and Popick was promised that exposure for the group would be “huge.”  According to the Post, “the kids and their parents packed up for a direct flight to Chicago and a long drive to Iowa.”

It wasn’t to be. When the plane landed, Popick had a message from the campaign staffer indicating that there was a change of plan. The campaign invited the performers to attend the rally, which they did, in their outfits. The campaign asked Popick not to talk to the media, he says, but then gave them seats within arm’s length of the press. “They just were constantly coming over, wanting pictures,” Popick said of the press. “They wanted to take pictures, they wanted to ask questions — and I had to be a real jerk.” The cost of the flights, rental car and hotel were all absorbed by Popick.

In the wake of the second snub, Popick reached out “again and again and again and again,”

“We are now asking and DEMANDING for what has been promised to us and is now long-overdue (and has been rightly earned by us); that is, a performance at the convention, or, be made whole,” an email Popick wrote to the campaign reads.

“These are guys that insist they’re straight shooters,” Popick said, “‘You may not like what we’re going to say, but we mean what we say and we say what we mean’ — and they just would not say anything of any substance!”

“I’ve invested a lot of time, effort, money,” he continued, “and it’s just been complete silence.”

It’s worth noting that Popick’s story mirrors analysis of Trump’s record in working with small business owners, some of whom allege that the Republican nominee failed to live up to financial and other commitments he’d made to them.

Donald Trump has most certainly lost a fan.

“At this point, my position is that I have no position, really,” Popick said. “What he’s done to my group or what he’s not done for my group doesn’t necessarily make him the best candidate, it doesn’t make him the worst candidate. I still have to mull that over. He might still be the best candidate as president of the United States — or not.”

Sky Palma

Before launching DeadState back in 2012, Sky Palma has been blogging about politics, social issues and religion for over a decade. He lives in Los Angeles and also enjoys Brazilian jiu jitsu, chess, music and art.

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