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Gold retailers woo Trump fans with appeals to MAGA-fueled angst

March 16, 2023 Updated Thu., March 16, 2023 at 7:37 p.m.

Advantage Gold had a booth at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md., earlier this month.  (Al Drago/Bloomberg)
Advantage Gold had a booth at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md., earlier this month. (Al Drago/Bloomberg)
By Mark Niquette Bloomberg

Listen to a broadcast on a right-leaning network or podcast, scroll through Donald Trump’s Truth Social feed or attend a convention with conservatives, and chances are you’ll hear a pitch to buy gold.

Gold retailers have found a receptive audience for marketing their products to conservatives and especially supporters of the former president who tend not to trust the Biden administration and government institutions.

They find pitches about gold being a safe haven appealing.

The retailers’ ads are hitting at an opportune moment.

Gold bugs, customers who are passionate about the metal, have long clung to bullion on fears of a collapse of the global economy and the financial system – the kind of angst that feeds on crises like the meltdown engulfing Credit Suisse and the failures of two U.S. regional banks.

Gold futures had decreased 0.1% since Biden took office through March 10 after the Federal Reserve’s unprecedented tightening in interest rates because gold is more appealing to investors for returns when rates are low.

But gold is up 2.3% since the failures Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank.

“Their passion is their protection,” said Joe Cavatoni, chief market strategist at the World Gold Council, in an interview in New York.

Earlier this month, Advantage Gold had a booth at the Conservative Political Action Conference in suburban Maryland and offered attendees information about products that included a gold IRA, an Individual Retirement Account that includes physical gold or other precious metals.

The company handed out golden tote bags and stacks of small, squeezable foam gold bars with the company’s logo and phone number that it called a “Biden stress reliever.”

“We’ve just seen that there’s massive interest in this market that responds to what our messaging is,” said Ray Griggs of Advantage Gold in an interview at the CPAC booth. “We found that if we target some things on the left, it’s crickets.”

Griggs said the company has begun exhibiting last year at conventions including CPAC and the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade or SHOT Show in Las Vegas to reach potential customers who generally share the same ideology and political outlook.

The risk of more Federal Reserve policy tightening following the bank failures and related financial turmoil, such as Credit Suisse’s share plunge after a top shareholder ruled out additional assistance to the Swiss bank, might push gold to new highs, Bloomberg Intelligence strategist Mike McGlone said in a note Tuesday.

At CPAC, Tom Trefny, a software manager from Round Rock, Texas, stopped at the Advantage Gold booth and said that as a conservative Republican, he gets the appeal of owning physical gold – especially with the risk of a recession hurting stocks and skepticism that Biden will corral inflation.

“Gold is kind of a way to hedge both of those risks,” Trefny said.

Conservatives tend to be monetary hawks who are concerned about high inflation and spiraling U.S. debt, which makes them a receptive audience for gold vendors to market their products, said Tai Wong, a veteran precious metals trader in New York.

While the target group for gold has historically been politically conservative, the pitches have become more pessimistic to match the shift in the Republican Party under Trump, said Philip Diehl, the 35th Director of the U.S. Mint and president of gold and silver dealer U.S. Money Reserve.

“Republicans and Trump supporters have become a very fertile audience for gold sellers,” Diehl said.

Examples of gold retailers marketing their products to conservatives and Trump supporters include Birch Gold Group being a frequent sponsor on Right Side Broadcasting Network’s telecasts of the former president’s rallies and major speeches.

A company spokesman didn’t respond to messages seeking comment.

An Advantage Gold digital ad on Truth Social said that Trump has been a longtime investor in gold and that as president, he “left open an Internal Revenue Service loophole” that allows investors to convert their retirement accounts into a self-directed Gold IRA.

Trump has advocated for the U.S. to return to the gold standard and nominated a Federal Reserve Board member who once did.

He is also a gold aficionado, decorating his properties and even the Oval Office in gold materials.

He owns between $100,000 and $250,000 in gold, according to his 2021 financial disclosure report.

Jonathan Rose, chief executive of Genesis Gold Group, said his company doesn’t necessarily target conservatives or Trump supporters, but does advertise in “America First” publications and websites.

Those publications also request interviews because it fits with their audiences, he said.

“People really don’t trust the government, they don’t trust the administration,” Rose said. “And anytime that there’s uncertainty in the market and people are looking for safety and security, that safe haven has always been gold.”

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