‘Don Poorleone’: Trump memes explode ahead of bond payment deadline

As the deadline approached for Donald Trump to post a $464m bond payment, social media users came together to coin yet another nickname for the former president: “Don Poorleone.”

The meme uses an image of the iconic Marlon Brando character, Vito Corleone, from “The Godfather“ and adapts his famous line where he vowed to “make him an offer he can’t refuse”.

The Trump meme states: “I made an offer everyone refused.”

It arrived just a day before the former president would have had to post the bond to comply with a New York civil court ruling that found him, his adult sons and former Trump Organization executives, guilty of fraud earlier this year. However, a New York appeals court intervened on Monday, giving Mr Trump a 10-day extension and allowing him to post just $175m.

Before the appeals court order, Mr Trump’s assets were at risk of seizure by New York Attorney General Letitia James because he was unable to secure the nearly half-billion-dollar bond.

The hashtag also inspired posts about other members of the Trump family.

“#DonPoorleone and his #FamilyFullOfFredos,” one X user wrote, including a photo of Mr Trump and his two sons, Eric and Don Jr, and referring to wayward son Fredo Corleone from the Godfather movies.

Last week, Mr Trump’s legal team told the appeals court he did not have the funds to post bond and asked the court to lower it to $100m. They claimed Mr Trump faced “insurmountable difficulties” in securing the bond after approaching almost 30 companies to no avail.

The appeals court decision arrived just in time to offer the former president a lifeline.

On Sunday, lawyer and commentator Neal Katyal referenced the Don Poorleone meme while discussing Mr Trump’s financial woes.

“There is a reason why I think some people are calling Donald Trump ‘Don Poorleone’ right now, and it’s because he’s kind of talking out of both sides of his mouth,” Mr Katyal said.

Despite Mr Trump’s attorneys telling the judge he doesn’t have the money, the former president said on Friday that he has “almost five hundred million dollars in cash.”

“His lawyers say he can’t get the money in time, he’s getting on Truth Social — his social media platform — and saying he can,” Mr Katyal continued.

“You know, these things don’t make much sense together. It’s a microcosm of what got Trump in trouble in the first place: Lying about his assets. And now he’s kind of doing the same thing.”

Mr Trump has also reached out to his supporters, asking for donations in an email blast, and warned that he could lose his properties. This inspired yet more social media posts. “Revenge is a dish I can no longer afford without your patriotic cash gift. #DonPoorleone,” wrote one person on Twitter/X.

Others on X, including actress Bette Midler, mocked Mr Trump for being unable to secure the bond.

For many, the prospect of some of the former president’s famous properties being taken from him, like Trump Tower, inspired memes about the building having a fire sale. But for now, Ms James will not seize Mr Trump’s properties.

The Independent has contacted the Trump campaign for comment.