The bank ultimately reversed course, saying it would reinstate the Defense of Liberty account, but organizers said: “The damage is done.” The Dec. 3 event has been postponed. Former Rep. Paul Curtman, who puts on the speaker series, said he is working on scheduling a new date with Trump Jr.
As The Missouri Times previously reported, organizers for the Defense of Liberty’s speaker series with the former president’s son said JP Morgan Chase’s WePay service, which processed ticket sales, sent a message saying it would shut down its services and refund purchases.
In an email provided to The Missouri Times, WePay accused the event of violating its terms of service which prevents it from conducting business related to “hate, violence, racial intolerance, terrorism, the financial exploitation of a crime, or items or activities that encourage, promote, facilitate, or instruct others regarding the same.”
“There is absolutely nothing from any one of my events that would ever qualify for anything they described,” Curtman said.
In a statement, a JP Morgan Chase spokesperson said: “After further review, we determined that this organization didn’t violate the terms of service, and we are reaching out to the client to discuss reinstating the account. To be clear, we have never and would never close an account due to a client’s political affiliation.”
However, organizers aren’t convinced the termination of the account wasn’t politically motivated.
“Chase Bank made an unfortunate decision to join with the cancel culture and terminate our relationship which will require us to postpone the Defense of Liberty event, having lost a majority of our ticket-selling time,” said Sen. Bill Eigel. “Not a single Missourian I know approves of this kind of oppression of our freedom of speech. As the largest bank in America servicing many customers in the Show-Me State, it is as surprising as it is disappointing that apparently Chase Bank has a different set of values from the folks I represent.”
“Regardless, this will not stand, and we won’t be silent just because a powerful special interest doesn’t like our love for freedom. I look forward to welcoming Donald J. Trump Jr. to Missouri to talk about how great America is,” Eigel continued. “Not surprising that Chase Bank wanted to minimize the public fallout from trying to cancel a conservative organization like the Defense of Liberty group. But the damage is done — the actions of Chase say ‘Cancel’ even if their words are saying something else.”
In a letter sent to the bank Wednesday, Fitzpatrick, a Republican who is running for state auditor, warned the Treasurer’s Office would not do business with JP Morgan Chase — or any other financial institution — that “discriminates against customers based on mainstream political ideology.”
“In Missouri, we do not shy away from political debate, but we also don’t extend that debate to every aspect of our lives. We don’t choose banks based on political ideology, harass politicians we disagree with at restaurants, or perform a political litmus test before every decision,” Fitzpatrick said. “Denying service based on political ideology is un-American, and only serves to further divide our country. Boycotts, bans, and cancellations will not unite us, but listening to those with whom we disagree without preconceived judgments might help.”
U.S. Senator Josh Hawley and Attorney General Eric Schmitt (who is running for U.S. Senate) have also sent letters to the bank.
“If your goal was to use the power of your company to stealth-cancel a conservative event, then you succeeded — to the detriment of the people of Missouri,” Hawley said. “Frankly, your belated claim of an unspecific ‘mistake’ rings hollow and requires explanation.”
In August, the Defense of Liberty series brought conservative political commentator Candace Owens to St. Charles for what was the largest gathering to date. About 1,200 attended the dinner and heard from Owens as well as GOP candidates for U.S. Senate.
Tickets to the Trump Jr. event ranged in price from $70-$250 with $1,000 VIP tickets for a reception with Trump Jr. also available. For $500, sponsors could have names or logos printed on tickets and in the programs.
A fundraiser for Eigel with Trump Jr. was to precede the event.
Kaitlyn Schallhorn is the editor of The Missouri Times. She joined the newspaper in early 2019 after working as a reporter for Fox News in New York City.
Throughout her career, Kaitlyn has covered political campaigns across the U.S., including the 2016 presidential election, and humanitarian aid efforts in Africa and the Middle East.
She is a native of Missouri who studied journalism at Winthrop University in South Carolina. She is also an alumna of the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C.
Contact Kaitlyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.