Spend some time on the Twitter feed of the “Sassy Gay Republican,” and at first it all seems pretty simple.
He can't stand “liberals.” He thinks universal health care is extremely suspect. And he loves President Trump, in case that wasn’t obvious. Just another anonymous Twitter personality with 30,000 followers riding the #MAGA train, right?
But then things got complicated. The 21-year-old Mesa resident, Alex Newman, was in a collision on the 202 on September 12, while he was working as a pizza-delivery driver. In the aftermath, his decision to crowdfund his bills on GoFundMe is raising eyebrows.
People aren't supposed to survive accidents like this which proves to me more that God is real & He doesn't want me out yet. I'm so blessed. pic.twitter.com/7jdePXAHoN— Sassy Gay Republican (@sassygayrepub) September 18, 2017
Newman found himself in the hospital, and although his worker's compensation insurance reportedly took care of some of the bills, the hospital didn't accept his health insurance. Briefly, the incident caused him to re-evaluate his stance on universal coverage.
The hospital they sent me to didn't take my insurance so now I'm having second thoughts about not having free healthcare cause this is bad.— Sassy Gay Republican (@sassygayrepub) September 15, 2017
He later told BuzzFeed that the collision has not led him to change his mind on the Affordable Care Act, which he said caused his family's premiums to triple.
So far, he's raised over $3,000 from 122 people in the eight days of the campaign, with a fundraising goal of $15,000. Newman's page says funds will go toward bills for his physical therapy and medication, as well as a used car so he can continue working as a pizza delivery driver.
Of course, the move smacks of hypocrisy for a guy who says that health care should remain "a privilege," not a right. What's unusual is that plenty of donors to his campaign have pointed this out — lots of the comments from contributors to his GoFundMe page wish him a swift recovery while also asking that he reconsider his position on health care.
Newman told Phoenix New Times in a message that his recovery is "going well," but he did not respond to questions about the backlash and the remarks from his GoFundMe supporters.
One contributor named Joey donated $10. He wrote, "I am seriously disabled by MS and other issues and you are in favor of removing insurance from myself and people I know who will literally die within weeks without it. So here I am, hating you, and paying for your health care. Because that's what we do in a society."
Another donor named Ginger chipped in $5, and deployed an analogy related to the cause of Newman's injuries:
"Why should I contribute to your recovery when I have the forethought not to subject myself to the risks of car ownership? Because that's what a civilized society does: we contribute a small amount (through taxes) toward many things that improve the lives of citizens and the country overall, some things that perhaps we don't agree with: roads, schools, the arts, the military, and medical care for your ignorant ass."
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Todd donated $100 and wrote this note: "I'm sorry this happened to you. I know this has thrown your world into a spiral. Now imagine how those with no health care feel."
It's unclear how Newman is taking the tongue-in-cheek donations. "It's more meaningful to ask for help from friends & family rather than from the Gov. where people are forced to pay into it," he wrote on Twitter on Wednesday. "Thats [sic] stealing."
Update: We heard back from Newman via Twitter direct message, who says he's disabled comments on the GoFundMe "so the only way to hate is help me out," speculating that commenters are seeking attention "[b]ecause all the news outlets are watching."
He also said he's purchased a used Toyota with funds that have been disbursed to him so far.