January 2, 2016

CBS News reports that a prominent Marco Rubio donor is behind the skywriting attack on Donald Trump over the Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena on Friday.

It was a clever way of getting the message out, but left viewers wondering who was behind it.

Those hosting a tailgate party at the Rose Bowl on New Years Day might have been surprised to look up to the sky and see messages blasting Trump. Multiple planes spewed cloud-like messages castigating the GOP front-runner, such as "AMERICA IS GREAT, TRUMP IS DISGUSTING. ANYBODY BUT TRUMP." The messages quickly went viral on social media and created a buzz for those attending the 127th Rose Parade, the annual ritual on New Year's Day in Pasadena, California.

The messages' tagline was "anybodybuttrump.us," a barebones website belonging to a Tuscaloosa, Alabama-based group called the "We the People Foundation." The site is registered to Pate, who The Huntsville Times once referred to in a profile as "an edgy force in Alabama politics."

"This is not over," Pate told CBS News. "This is just beginning."

Pate said that he has bought similar, smaller banner ads at the Orange Bowl, the Cotton Bowl and the Sugar Bowl. AirSign, the Florida-based airborne ad firm contracted to fly the anti-Trump messages, confirmed the buys.

"He spews hate, not only on every candidate, he spews it on women, Latinos, Muslims and the list goes on," Pate said. "And it's just time we respond and say this is not what we expect out of a candidate running for president."

Pate is sort of an equal opportunity donor, it seems, but with a leaning toward moderate Republican candidates.

For 2016, Pate was an early donor to Rubio's campaign. According to FEC filings, Pate gave $5,200 to his presidential campaign committee in early 2015, but he says he's officially undecided. He's also donated to many other Republicans in the past. In 2004, Pate cut a $25,000 check to the Republican National Committee. Pate also contributed tens of thousands to joint fundraising committees supporting various Republican state parties in 2004 and again in 2008, also supporting Sen. John McCain's presidential run.

It's certainly a better use of donations than buying more "Make America Great Again" hats, I guess.

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