When Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) purchased drinks from two girls running a lemonade stand in August, she may not have been aware that her $10 purchase would be donated to a pro-life charity.
"Our daughters thought [Warren] was nice," Dan Michels, a Trump supporter and a father to one of the girls, told the Washington Free Beacon. "She came by and told us we should vote for her. And our daughters told us she was a nice person, but we don't align with her politically and … because she's pro-choice, we said we should donate her money to a pro-life [cause]."
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On August 8, Warren stopped by a lemonade stand staffed by two 11-year-old children, Sienna Michels and Audrey Billings, during a campaign bus tour across Iowa.
"Stopped for a quick drink at a lemonade stand in Harlan, Iowa. When life gives you lemons, make big structural change!" Warren said on Twitter.
The two kids were excited about meeting a presidential candidate in person. The Michels girl urged her parents to vote for the Massachusetts senator in 2020 after the photo op. The parents instead explained Warren's stance on abortion. The girls and their parents decided to donate to the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, a non-profit that supports pro-life legislation.
"My daughter told us she wanted us to vote for her," Michels said. "We talked about the abortion part of things and said maybe we should donate money to stop abortion, and my daughter was all for that."
Warren, who did not respond to request for comment, announced an ambitious pro-choice platform in July. She has called on the federal government to prevent states from restricting abortion access. The proposal would also "guarantee reproductive health coverage as part of all health coverage." In February, she voted against the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which would guarantee life-saving medical care for newborns. The Planned Parenthood Action Fund gave her a 100 percent rating in its 2019 legislative scorecard.
Warren's pit stop at the lemonade stand went viral after a campaign reporter tweeted out that Warren paid $10 for $7 worth of lemonade. Based on that incomplete information, some people assumed that a pair of tweens convinced a U.S. senator to pay $10 for one cup of lemonade, art-of-the-deal style.
"The beauty of that for a local lemonade vendor like that little girl is the politicians will do literally ANYTHING to please Iowans in exchange for votes," Barstool wrote in a column. "They’ll go to our State Fair, they’ll eat our pork chops on a stick, they’ll kiss our giant babies and yes, they'll pay an exorbitant amount for a cup of lemonade."
Warren bought seven cups of lemonade for $1 each, and donated the extra $3 to the girls, according to Michels. He said the children were not too affected by the social media firestorm, and the family continues to monitor Warren's surging campaign on Fox News and the debate stage.
"I did see that on Twitter and people are saying that they are scamming her," Michels said. "We explained it to them, it's just how people are."
The girls proved to be skilled entrepreneurs. They raised roughly $80 from around 70 people because some customers, including Warren, paid a little extra. Michels said that they hope to replicate the success next year.
"Not this year for sure," Michels said when asked when the next lemonade sale will take place. "Next summer, we probably will."