Text messages sent out to the phones of supporters of President Donald Trump were never received earlier this month after providers blocked them, according to a new report.
Politico reported Monday that more than one million “patriotic-themed” messages sent from the Trump campaign over the July 4 weekend never made it to their intended recipients, who are largely supporters of the president.
The report blamed anti-spam monitors employed by major carriers, which are believed to have flagged and halted the messages before they could be delivered for a period of five days.
The phone companies responsible for getting between the president and his supporters include AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon.
“Representatives for the telecom companies declined to comment for the record. But people close to Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T said the decision was not made by them, but rather by third-party administrators they employ to monitor text messaging and protect consumers from spamming,” according to Politico.
Over Independence Day weekend, the Trump campaign tested the text messaging program, which it intends to use to elicit small donations and later hopes will drive voter turnout in November.
“People familiar with the chain of events said Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T flagged potential regulatory problems with the peer-to-peer messaging operation, which differs from robo-texting in that texts are sent individually, as opposed to a mass blast,” Politico reported.
The Trump campaign frequently sends out personalized text messages and emails to supporters, including “attendees to the president’s trademark rallies,” the outlet added.
The messaging program is part of the Trump campaign’s larger strategy, which embraces the use of technology and modern forms of communication to reach potential donors and voters.
Politico reported that the saga is the latest turn of events that has left the Trump team suspicious of not only big tech, but now communications companies as well.
Republican digital strategist Eric Wilson told Politico the five-day blackout is “concerning.”
“A campaign’s email and text messaging list are some of the most important assets they have in 2020,” Wilson said.
He added that it is “really very concerning to see that such a significant issue happened and to see that it wasn’t resolved in a timely manner.”
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, who is the president’s son-in-law, reportedly reached out to the carriers about the issue of the messages being blocked.
Despite Kushner’s direct contact with the mobile carriers, it still took five days for the issue to be resolved, according to Politico.
The five-day shutdown on messaging potentially cost the Trump campaign millions of dollars in donations, the outlet said.
Trump campaign officials are now reportedly eyeing mobile carriers with suspicion, worried something similar might occur in the days leading up to the November election.
“Peer-to-peer texting has quickly become a critical tool for Republicans and Democrats,” Trump campaign digital director Gary Coby told Politico.
“Both sides agree, it’s going to lead to more Americans voting, a great thing for our country,” he added.
“There is bipartisan commitment to continue working with mobile carriers and the entire mobile messaging industry to ensure the channel remains open and secure.”
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