By Doug Porter
Just a few weeks ago, prospective Republican nominee Donald Trump was boasting about the status of his campaign. He went so far as to announce “… that my campaign has perhaps more cash than any campaign in the history of politics…” Today I’ll look at the 936 or so stories showing up in Google search that seem to think otherwise.
The release of Federal Election Commission filings on Monday told a different story. The campaign is impoverished, relatively speaking, little-to-no effort has been made to establish a financial operation that can compete at the national level, and much of the spending has been directed to entities owned by Trump.
An ongoing turf war within the campaign went public with the dismissal of campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski. Heading into the general election, the Trump campaign is underfunded, understaffed, and historically unpopular.
Good news is that my campaign has perhaps more cash than any campaign in the history of politics- b/c I stand 100% behind everything we do.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 29, 2016
Show Me the Money
How cash poor is The Donald Show?
Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders ended May with about $9 million in the bank, having raised $16.4 million and spent $12.9 million that month.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign finished the month with $42 million in hand, having spent $16.7 million and raised more than $28 million.
Donald Trump, not so much.
In fact, Ben Carson and Senator Ted Cruz, both of whom had dropped out of the contest, had more money in the bank.
From the Washington Post:
Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump loaned his campaign $2.2 million in May and collected $3.1 million in donations, ending the month with less than $1.3 million in the bank, according to new campaign finance filings.
The real estate mogul’s meager cash flow spotlighted the urgent need for him to dramatically ramp up the fundraising he is doing in conjunction with the Republican National Committee, a task he has fitfully embraced.
And it’s not just money — the filings revealed a campaign staff of less than 70, a number dwarfed by Clinton’s nearly 700 paid employees, and few of the campaign’s expenses suggested work had begun to build out a more robust operation. All together, it’s the most lopsided fundraising start to a presidential election in the modern campaign finance era.
The filings detail campaign finances covering the month of May, during which Trump locked up the GOP nomination after the May 3 Indiana primary. Republicans had hoped that Trump’s clearing of the field would prompt their donors to rally behind their presumptive nominee and allow him to close the gap with Clinton’s campaign, which was still struggling to finish off primary rival Bernie Sanders.
Instead, the campaign showed no clear path for improving its financial picture…
“You’re Fired,” Said the Trumpettes
Former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski had no idea what was in store for him as he walked into Monday’s morning’s regular strategy meeting at Trump Tower.
From New York Magazine:
According to two sources briefed on the events, the meeting was a setup. Shortly after it began, the children peppered Lewandowski with questions, asking him to explain the campaign’s lack of infrastructure. “They went through the punch list. ‘Where are we with staffing? Where are we with getting the infrastructure built?'” one source explained. Their father grew visibly upset as he heard the list of failures. Finally, he turned to Lewandowski and said, “What’s your plan here?”
Lewandowski responded that he wanted to leak Trump’s vice-president pick.
And with that, Lewandowski was out. Trump has long viewed announcing his running mate at the GOP convention next month as a valuable card to play. He was shocked that Lewandowski didn’t have any other ideas. Shortly after the meeting, Lewandowski was escorted out of the building by Trump security.
The $94 Taco Salad
A significant amount of the money spent by the Trump campaign ended up in the coffers of companies owned or controlled by the candidate.
The Associated Press reports a grand total (since the campaign started) of $6.2 million has found it way back into Trump corporate products and services.
The campaign has paid about $520,000 to Trump Tower Commercial LLC and the Trump Corporation for rent and utilities. The campaign also paid $423,000 to Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago Club in south Florida for rent and catering and an additional $135,000 in rent and utilities to Trump Restaurants LLC.
The campaign paid out $26,000 in January to rent out a facility at Trump National Doral, his golf course in Miami. He’d held an event in the gold-accented ballroom there in late October. The campaign paid almost $11,000 to Trump’s hotel in Chicago.
Even $4.7 million the campaign has spent on hats and T-shirts has a tie to Trump. The provider, Ace Specialties, is owned by a board member of son Eric Trump’s charitable foundation.
Remember the infamous taco salad The Donald posed with on Cinco de Mayo to show the world how much love he had for Latinos? It’s the last item on the list below, which is limited to items with ‘Trump” in the name.
A Turd in the Punch Bowl
So The Donald’s cash poor, has a chaotic campaign and nobody to run it. He’s still got his legions of followers, right?
A CNN/ORC poll released this morning shows Trump being the favorite candidate of only 51% of Republican or Republican-leaning independents.
Then there’s this, via Vox.com:
A Washington Post/ABC poll found that 70 percent of all adults, and 69 percent of registered voters, have an unfavorable opinion of Trump, donors and American businesses seem to be stepping away, and members of his own party seem have come out to say they will support him but not endorse him.
Now he enters the general election with the largest fundraising disadvantage in recent political history, according to the New York Times.
It’s long been a belief among pundits that no matter the outrageousness of the comment, Trump can shake off the bad press and foster support. But these new fundraising numbers demonstrate that Teflon Trump is a myth
And this, from today’s Union-Tribune:
Two of Donald Trump’s most high-profile supporters in Congress have a case of buyer’s remorse.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, said he’d like to “re-do” the entire primary process where Trump wasn’t a candidate. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, one of the first members of the House to back Trump, warned of an attempt to block Trump as the Republican Party’s presidential nominee and potential violence at the GOP national convention in July.
Issa blamed President Barak Obama, in part, for the Trump phenomenon.
Poor Darrell Issa.
What will he do when he no longer has President Obama to blame for everything?
Here’s a former UT editorial writer:
Rep. Issa, who once compared Trump favorably to Reagan, now blames Obama for Trump’s success. Sheesh. https://t.co/GV0f1L0kmt
— William Osborne (@xsdutOsborne) June 21, 2016
It’s the Economy, Stupid
The Clinton campaign is readying a push to paint the presumptive GOP nominee’s economic proposals as bad for the United States. And they got some expert help with that effort this week from a report predicting diminished growth and increased federal deficits during a Trump administration.
Donald Trump’s presidency would “significantly” weaken the country, driving the U.S. into a “lengthy recession” with nearly 3.5 million job losses and a 7 percent unemployment rate, according to a Moody’s Analytics analysis released Monday.
The analysis examined the presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s economic plans at face value, based on interviews, speeches and his campaign website. The authors of the report, however, warned that quantifying the real estate mogul’s economic polices “is complicated by their lack of specificity.”
“Broadly, Mr. Trump’s economic proposals will result in a more isolated U.S. economy. Cross-border trade and immigration will be significantly diminished, and with less trade and immigration, foreign direct investment will also be reduced,” Mark Zandi, Chris Lafakis, Dan White and Adam Ozimek wrote in the report.
From the report itself:
This would be an unusually lengthy recession—even longer than the Great Recession—although the severity of the decline in economic activity would be more consistent with a typical recession suffered since World War II. Employment will continue to decline and unemployment will rise into the next presidential term, with the unemployment rate peaking at 7.4% in summer 2021.
The word this morning as I’m writing this is that the Trump campaign will be returning fire on Wednesday with a speech full of personal attacks. Or maybe he’ll name his pick for vice-president.
On This Day: 1877 – Ten miners accused of being militant “Molly Maguires” were hanged in Pennsylvania. A private corporation initiated the investigation of the 10 through a private detective agency. A private police force arrested them, and private attorneys for the coal companies prosecuted them. “The state provided only the courtroom and the gallows,” a judge said many years later. 1954 – The American Cancer Society reported significantly higher death rates among cigarette smokers than among non-smokers. 1989 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that burning the American flag as a form of political protest was protected by the First Amendment.
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