Image via YouTube
Remember that pre-teen dancing trio from Donald Trump’s January 13th rally in Pensacola, Florida? According to The Daily Beast, the girls are pulling a page straight from Trump’s playbook and suing the Republican presidential candidate for allegedly failing to deliver on prearranged agreements.
The troupe, known as the USA Freedom Kids, received some short-lived media attention after a video of their routine went viral during the early days of Trump’s campaign. Wearing patriotic outfits and singing a slightly edited version of a World War I propaganda anthem, the girls electrified the crowd and horrified others with the lyrics, “Enemies of freedom / Face the music / Come on, boys—take ‘em down!”
Since then, the dancing kid gang has filed a lawsuit against Trump, stating his campaign managers broke verbal contracts during two separate events in addition to stiffing them out of $2,500 for travel expenses. While one of the campaign’s regional field directors, Stephanie Scruggs, emailed the group in advance of the January 13th rally that they would not be able to cover travel expenses, apparently she did make other promises. In the email, which was provided as evidence in the lawsuit, Scruggs wrote, “We have coordinated with the event space to allow the girls to set up a table and pre-sell their album, shirts, ect if this is helpful to you.”
The group’s founder (and father of one of the dancers) Jeff Popick agreed to the arrangement, figuring they could cover the costs of traveling to the event by selling their wares. Only, once they arrived at the convention center, Popick says it became readily apparent merchandise sales would be impossible upon discovering the rally was “chaos.” The rally’s security guards reportedly wouldn’t let the Freedom Kids bring their T-shirts, CDs, and patriotic posters into the venue, so they left them in the parking lot where all of the goods were promptly stolen.
Still, this treatment did not deter the troupe, and they showed up at another rally in Des Moines, Iowa, later that month to perform, only to be turned away at the eleventh hour. In the wake of these disappointments, Popick filed a lawsuit against the Florida campaign for up to $15,000 in damages. Though Popick wanted to make it clear that he is only going after Trump’s campaign in an effort to recoup lost funds. As he explained to The Daily Beast,
“This is not an opportunistic thing where we’re suing Donald Trump. We’re not suing for emotional distress and all that other stuff that people do when they trump up—no pun intended—when they trump up a lawsuit. That’s not what this is. This is tangible dollars I spent under false pretenses.”
Trump’s camp has yet to release a statement on the issue.