On Thursday’s Tennessee Star Report with Steve Gill and Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – Steve and Mike spoke exclusively with Air Force veteran Brian Kolfage, a triple amputee and recipient of the Purple Heart, about his GoFundMe account in which, at the time of the interview (7:15 am central time) had raised over $4 million the four days since its launch to help “build the wall.”
As the morning conversation continued, a donor made a contribution in the amount of $10,000 which was then the largest single donation so far. Later on Thursday, an anonymous donor topped that with a $50,000 donation.
As of 10 p.m. central Thursday night, contributions had grown to over $10 million. You can see the current status of the GoFundMe account here.
You can read the full transcript here:
Leahy: We are joined now by Brian Kolfage who has a verified blue check Facebook page as a public figure, he’s a purple heart recipient, a triple amputee veteran. He put up this page, GoFundMe account just a couple days ago and already has three point one million dollars to build the wall. Welcome Brian to 98.3 FM and 1510 WLAC.
Kolfage: Hey guys, yeah thanks for having me on I appreciate it.
Gill: How did you come up with this idea? They GoFund just about everything else why not go fund the wall?
Kolfage: Well, I think you said it the best, why not? Really I think why hasn’t it been done. Everyone has been talking about it in the news for about year now people talked about doing it. Some people have done it. But none of them really got, caught traction. But this is the one that caught traction and it’s just timing. And probably the point that I’m a triple amputee and speaking out probably…(Inaudible talk)
Gill: Well you’ve got to feel pretty good that you’ve outraised, you know, just in the first day or so the entire amount they raised for Blasey-Ford.
Kolfage: Oh yeah, I mean it shows…, (Chuckles)
Gill: The media made a big deal about that. I think they raised about a million dollars for her, you’re at the three million dollar mark and the mainstream media is kind of like, shhhh, crickets.
Kolfage: Yeah I think it shut ’em up pretty quick. A lot of people said it was not possible and whether it’s possible or not I mean we’ll decide that when people you know, put their money where their mouth is. Obviously this has had a big impact.
Leahy: So Brian you have a limit of one billion dollars from the GoFundMe folks and I think President Trump has said he needs five billion dollars. Are you working on increasing that limit?
Kolfage: Yeah, that limit on there is just for the campaign but basically it’s not like a physical limit. It’s just their programming doesn’t go higher than that for the website. The donations will still come in higher. But we’re talking with them trying to fix that so we can go higher. I don’t think they ever imagined anyone would even go…
Leahy: So Brian, how do we know for sure that this money will A, go to the wall and B, we’re assuming this is a legitimate effort and you’re not taking a big cut of it but tell us a little bit about how we can assure our listening audience about that.
Gill: Not that we’d be adverse to a big consulting fee to help you with it.
Kolfage: I don’t need the money. (Laughter) We are working with a law firm out of DC and they are pretty heavy hitting, they know a lot of people in politics. They are wrapping up the contract right now between us, the people who donated, and the government whoever will accept this money. If we hit our goal and we give this money to the government they’re going to sign this contract and they’re going be held to this that our funds will only be used for the construction of the wall. They’re not going to be building dorms. There’re not going to be lining some pocket. It’s just going to be for the wall. But that’s something I think we need to have. Its good to have accountability on this. It’s kind of why we’re in this position because people are pissed off with everything that’s going on. We’re not getting what we wanted. We’re going to do it the right way.
Gill proceeded to describe the actual construction of the wall and that it’s not really a wall, and how Trump has described it as having multiple parts of fencing, wall, and barrier and in some parts wire and five hundred foot cliffs. He asked Kolfage if he thought people were taking it to literal. Kolfage replied by stating that it’s common sense and that you can’t have a “great wall of China straight across the southern border”. He acknowledged the nay sayers and hoped that he would be able to prove them wrong and they will do what they can do.
Leahy: Brian, is there a precedent, private funding for public building activity here in the United States?
Kolfage: Um, you know there is. Well I don’t know if I’d call it funding of a building. But in 2012 in Obama years, the Washington Monument was earthquake we had in D.C. A private donor gave seven million dollars to the government to pay half of the re-construction fees of it. One of the fees was to repair the Washington Monument and they had no problem taking his seven million dollars from a private citizen. So…
Gill: I think Lee Iacocca did a big fundraising campaign years ago for the Statue of Liberty renovation in Ellis Island.
Kolfage: Right. There’s plenty of precedence. It just takes you know, someone with the will and the willingness to do it and step forward. That’s why we have this law firm involved. They know all the right people who make the moves and they’re very powerful.
Leahy: Brian, I’m looking at the number of contributions you’ve received. Fifty one thousand one hundred and fifty six people have contributed a grand total of three million one hundred and thirty three thousand two hundred and fifty nine dollars to the Trump wall go fund me account as of 7:24 am central on December 20th. That figures out to be about sixty dollars per person. Not bad!
Kolfage: Yeah that’s amazing. Not everyone can make those larger donations some are making five, ten dollars. Other people, a couple people have made I think five thousand dollar donations. We’ve heard word that some people are trying to make very very large donations.
Leahy: Hey I’ve got some news for you. A gentleman by the name of Edgar Weiss one hour ago, just contributed ten thousand and fifteen dollars. That’s your highest contribution so far.
Kolfage: Oh wow. What was his name.?
Leahy: Edgar Weiss. I have no idea where he’s from. But you look at this list, and there are just eight or nine people that have given more than two thousand dollars. And the highest so far is ten thousand dollars.
Gill: Anyway we could add some advertising component to this wall to get some big bucks. I mean you’re going to have two sides of a wall. Now granted it’s not going to look like the Berlin Wall and you’d want to put the advertising high enough that it couldn’t be defaced or have gang members you know, tagging stuff. But you know up high on the wall, I mean I could just see some Coca Cola, Nike, Chick-fil-A, McDonald’s ads. (Leahy laughs) Again you’ve got two facing ways particularly in the high traffic areas like Tijuana and others. I mean let’s get Home Depot make the whole wall orange and let Home Depot chip in a bunch.
As the conversation wound to a close, Kolfage agreed with the advertising angle but was concerned that he could see boycotts occur for those brands by liberals. Leahy asked Kolfage what other media outlets he would be on and Kolfage responded that he was getting calls from the Laura Ingraham Show and would be on Fox Business tomorrow with Maria Bartiromo, plus a few other small ones.
Gill jokingly asked him if he’s heard from Jeff Zucker. Kolfage responded with a chuckle that CNN doesn’t want to talk to him about anything along with ABC. Kolfage did state however that CBS did show interest and that he is planning to be on the show after talking to The Tennessee Star Report.
Listen to the full segment:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 am to the Tennessee Star Report with Steve Gill and Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.