Donald Trump boasted on Monday that if he wanted to he “could be the greatest fundraiser in history.” He said all he’d have to do is “call the head of every Wall Street firm, head of every major company, head of every major energy company. Do me a favor: send me 10 million for my campaign. ‘Yes, sir.'” But, he added, “I don’t want to do that because then I would be totally comprised.”
Based on the most recent campaign financial disclosures forms, Trump may need to re-think his position on dialing for dollars. With just 13 days to go before the election, his campaign has only slightly more than one-third the amount of cash on hand than former Vice President Joe Biden. Trump’s reelection campaign ended September with $63.1 million in the bank, which is just half of what it had at the beginning of the month. That’s compared to the whopping $177.3 million in Biden’s coffers.
Trump’s campaign operation has pulled in $1.5 billion since he took office. Even though the president claims his campaign still has plenty of money it was forced to cancel major TV ad buys in the past several weeks to conserve cash. That’s a pretty dramatic reversal of fortune since Ferrari-loving former campaign head Brad Parscale in May sent his now infamous “Death Star” tweet.
For nearly three years we have been building a juggernaut campaign (Death Star). It is firing on all cylinders. Data, Digital, TV, Political, Surrogates, Coalitions, etc.
In a few days we start pressing FIRE for the first time. pic.twitter.com/aJgCNfx1m0
— Brad Parscale (@parscale) May 7, 2020
Mike Murphy, a veteran Republican consultant who is an outspoken critic of Trump, offered this observation to The Associated Press: “They spent their money on unnecessary overhead, lifestyles-of-the-rich-and-famous activity by the campaign staff and vanity ads way too early. You could literally have 10 monkeys with flamethrowers go after the money, and they wouldn’t have burned through it as stupidly.”
Among the campaign expenditures included in Trump’s campaign finance disclosures:
— At least $35.2 million spent on Trump merchandise;
— Nearly $100,000 spent on copies of Donald Trump Jr.’s book “Triggered;”
— Over $7.4 million spent at Trump-branded properties since 2017;
— $38.7 million in legal and “compliance” fees, some of which went to pay legal costs during his impeachment proceedings;
— At least $14.1 million spent on the Republican National Convention; and,
— $912,000 spent on ads that ran on the personal Facebook pages of Parscale and Trump spokesperson Katrina Pierson;
The forms also show that his campaign has spent $1.6 million to air TV ads in the Washington, D.C. media market. Given that the area is overwhelmingly Democratic Trump has no chance of winning — but he does watch a lot of TV there.