Trump Dismisses Fundraising Concerns
Donald Trump shrugged off concerns about his dismal fundraising numbers on Tuesday while his fellow Republicans grappled with ways to make up the cash shortfall.
The presumptive GOP nominee is entering the general election battle with a significant money lag compared to his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. Trump had $1.3 million cash on hand at the end of May, according to FEC reports, compared to $42 million for Clinton.
But the celebrity businessman noted he is willing to pony up his own cash if needed.
“If need be, there could be unlimited ‘cash on hand’ as I would put up my own money, as I have already done through the primaries, spending over $50 million dollars. Our campaign is leaner and more efficient, like our government should be,” he said in a statement Tuesday.
Trump’s campaign also pointed out that June was its first full fundraising month and that the first fundraising event wasn’t held until May 25.
“To date, the campaign’s fundraising has been incredible and we continue to see a tremendous outpouring of support for Mr. Trump and money to the Republican Party. The positive response to our fundraising efforts so far is a further indication that the country does not want yet another corrupt politician like Crooked Hillary,” the campaign noted in a statement.
Additionally on Tuesday, the campaign sent out its first fundraising email. "This is the first fundraising email I have ever sent on behalf of my campaign. That’s right. The FIRST ONE," Trump wrote.
He also vowed to increase the total raised “by personally matching every dollar that comes in WITHIN THE NEXT 48 HOURS, up to $2 million!" in order to make it the “most successful introductory fundraising email in modern political history.”
The New York businessman started his offensive Tuesday by making the interview rounds on the morning TV shows. In the interviews he talked up his business background and pointed out he spent less than his GOP rivals in the primary process and won.
"I understand money far better than anybody," he told NBC’s “Today” show.
He noted he spent around $55 million of his own money in the primaries -- "much less than everyone else, and I beat everyone else."
But his fundraising numbers were particularly worrisome given that presumptive nominee Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee raised more than $76 million in May of 2012.
Meanwhile, the RNC announced Monday it raised $11 million in May and has $19.9 million cash on hand. The party also noted it outpaced the Democratic National Committee in fundraising by $50 million since January 2015.
And it defended Trump’s numbers.
“You're looking at the Trump campaign through the prism of the Hillary Clinton campaign,” RNC spokesman Sean Spicer said on CNN. “Donald Trump financed his campaign all the way to this point by adding in more of his own personal money. So it's false to say that he has $1.3 million. If he wanted to get that number up in two seconds, he just strokes a check and it's up.”
What the party wasn’t answering Tuesday was questions about its fundraising going forward. Traditionally the nominee raises money both for his/her campaign and the general party apparatus.
In fact, Trump and the RNC announced a joint effort early in May – the Trump Victory Fund. However it only raised $3 million in its first month in existence, according to Politico. Meanwhile, the Hillary Victory Fund – a joint fundraising effort with the DNC -- raised $8.9 million in May.
These joint fundraising committees can be cash cows. In 2012, the Romney Victory Fund (the joint RNC-Romney fundraising effort) raised around $492 million, according to FEC reports, while President Obama and the DNC’s joint fund raised around $453 million.
RealClearPolitics reached out to RNC officials, GOP fundraisers and those with ties to the party to inquire about fundraising plans but got little response as of Tuesday afternoon.
One option for the RNC would be to open a line of credit, which could be tapped for millions of dollars that would have to be paid off once the election is over. It’s a tactic both parties have used in the past even though it can add millions of debt to the party’s bottom line.
Another option is to bring in other prominent Republicans to fundraise.
So far, Speaker Paul Ryan, who has raised millions for his House colleagues, has not been approached. He and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus are close friends but the speaker’s focus has been on keeping the lower chamber in GOP hands.
“Speaker Ryan is focusing on supporting House and Senate Republicans. The RNC has not asked Speaker Ryan to appear at any fundraisers in the months ahead, but should Chairman Priebus do so, we will give those requests proper consideration. Speaker Ryan remains committed to putting Republicans in a position to succeed in November,” a House GOP aide said.