How in the world did Donald Trump’s campaign already spend $800 million?

Donald Trump holds a news conference in Washington DC

On Labor Day, the New York Times published a curious report about the financing of the Trump campaign. It was no secret that Donald Trump has spent much of the past three-and-a-half years raising money for his re-election campaign, and Trumpers often bragged about Trump’s $1 billion-plus war chest. But… the Trump campaign has spent a big chunk of it. That’s what the Times reported on Monday, that Trump’s war chest might not make it through November.

Money was supposed to have been one of the great advantages of incumbency for President Trump, much as it was for President Barack Obama in 2012 and George W. Bush in 2004. After getting outspent in 2016, Mr. Trump filed for re-election on the day of his inauguration — earlier than any other modern president — betting that the head start would deliver him a decisive financial advantage this year. It seemed to have worked. His rival, Joseph R. Biden Jr., was relatively broke when he emerged as the presumptive Democratic nominee this spring, and Mr. Trump and the Republican National Committee had a nearly $200 million cash advantage.

Five months later, Mr. Trump’s financial supremacy has evaporated. Of the $1.1 billon his campaign and the party raised from the beginning of 2019 through July, more than $800 million has already been spent. Now some people inside the campaign are forecasting what was once unthinkable: a cash crunch with less than 60 days until the election, according to Republican officials briefed on the matter.

Brad Parscale, the former campaign manager, liked to call Mr. Trump’s re-election war machine an “unstoppable juggernaut.” But interviews with more than a dozen current and former campaign aides and Trump allies, and a review of thousands of items in federal campaign filings, show that the president’s campaign and the R.N.C. developed some profligate habits as they burned through hundreds of millions of dollars. Since Bill Stepien replaced Mr. Parscale in July, the campaign has imposed a series of belt-tightening measures that have reshaped initiatives, including hiring practices, travel and the advertising budget.

[From The NY Times]

The Times tries to unravel just how the Trump campaign managed to blow through $800 million in about 18 months and I guess the operative word there is “blow.” I mean, I’m not saying that they spent it all on coke, but I watched 90 seconds of Don Jr’s RNC speech and *somebody* is definitely paying for blow. The Times says that $350 million was spent on… fundraising operations, much of it building their new-donor list online. Which is funny, because of the Tulsa debacle and how many of those donor/supporter lists got screwed over. They also spent $100 million on advertising before the RNC, which is dumb for many reasons. I mean, the expenses would look completely justified if Trump was simply *even* with Biden in most September polls. But Trump is consistently down 6 to 10 points in the majority of national polls (nevermind the battleground-state polling). So, interestingly enough, Trump is thinking about putting some of his own money (???) into his campaign:

President Trump has discussed spending up to $100 million dollars of his personal wealth on his reelection campaign against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, Bloomberg News reported. The president has addressed the idea with multiple advisers, according to the news outlet, which cited people familiar with the matter. Trump contributed $66 million to his 2016 campaign.

Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee (RNC) have spent more than $800 million on the president’s reelection bid. Biden and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) have spent approximately $414 million through July. An incumbent president contributing personal funds toward a reelection campaign would be unprecedented, Bloomberg News noted, adding that Trump’s aides have not agreed on the move. The Trump campaign is set to have twice as much cash as it did in 2016, it added.

Biden and the DNC in August raised nearly $365 million in August, breaking a one-month fundraising record of $193 million set by former President Obama in 2008. Trump and the RNC have not released last month’s fundraising efforts.

[From The Hill]

I contributed to the Biden-Harris campaign and I suggest everyone at least buy a t-shirt or a tote bag or some bumper stickers or just donate $5 if you can. As for Trump putting in his own money… like, Trump already reportedly owes $500 million (probably more) to Deutsche Bank. I sincerely doubt he has that kind of liquidity to even loan his campaign the money. And while Trump has “assets” he could put up as collateral, why would he? Lord, untangling the financial stuff is going to be a huge mess if and when we get these motherf–kers out of office.

Donald Trump holds a news conference in Washington DC

Photos courtesy of Backgrid.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

36 Responses to “How in the world did Donald Trump’s campaign already spend $800 million?”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. ce says:

    Say it with me now: He. Is. Embezzling. Money!!!!
    Suddenly he’s going to spend ‘his own’ money on campaign promotion… interesting!! What a grifter. Lock him up

    • Juls says:

      Or Putin has ponied up the dough.

    • STRIPE says:

      Yep. The money went to his pockets and that of his family.

      • snappyfish says:

        exactly this. Paying off his debts, lining his pockets, funneling to his children to keep it safe from his creditors.

    • MissMarierose says:

      They all are. I guarantee you those grifters hired other grifters who have also embezzled money from the campaign.

    • whatWHAT? says:

      check out what some of those “senior advisors” (like Lara Trump, the Dumb One’s wife, and Kim Guilfoyle) are getting paid per month. In some cases, those grifters are getting a bigger salary than what the President is paid.

      and yeah, I SERIOUSLY doubt he’s got the cash to put up for a campaign.

    • LahdidahBaby says:

      Lol, I came onto this thread to say exactly what I now see everyone else thinks too: embezzlement, lining the pockets of his grifter family. Jesus, why does he never pay for anything–literally or metaphorically!?! He even paid Baron’s Boy Scout fees a few years back with funds from his *charitable* (haha) foundation, and he paid c. $60K out of that same fund to have a portrait painted of himself.

    • The Recluse says:

      We know where all that money went. It went to same place as all that excess Inauguration ca$h did.

  2. Lex says:

    All his grifter family members are on the payroll for their “””work”””

  3. Snuffles says:

    I have no doubt that Trump used the campaign funds as his own personal piggy bank. Probably using to funnel money to his private businesses, covering considerable legal fees for all the crimes filed against him, probably paying off people not to talk and his kids are probably dipping into it too.

    If I was a mega donor I would demand a full accounting.

    • Christin says:

      Unraveling what happened to the inauguration and campaign funds will be a crooked trail, no doubt.

      Three years of campaign fundraising, and now they claim to be nearly insolvent?

    • Esmom says:

      Agreed. And how stupid are these mega donors? This is how he’s always been.

      • H says:

        Some of those mega donors have wised up. The Mercer family has cut their donations in half and it’s rumored that big wig from Vegas is not giving anymore money after a nasty phone call from Trump. Guy is mad on how Trump handled Covid as his Vegas casinos are tanking. My heart bleeds for them all.

    • Lizzie Bathory says:

      Yep. It’s classic Trump–siphon off as much of other people’s money as possible; bankrupt the business. Rinse, repeat.

    • whatWHAT? says:

      and mega donors have balked at funding him this time around, apparently. who can blame them? who wants to throw money at someone who essentially lights it on fire or steals it?

  4. Christin says:

    Is that code for “send some rubles”?

    • lucy2 says:

      Yes. Putin needs to up his allowance.

      The idea that a con man who has spent his entire life lying, cheating, and committing crime after crime would embezzle his own funds should be shocking to no one. What would shock me is if someone actually paid a price for it and went to jail.

  5. lascivious chicken says:

    It all went straight up Don Jr’s nose

  6. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    He bought a Nobel nomination.

    • Sierra says:

      Trump was nominated before by the same person. He is up against 318 individuals so I don’t think he will get it.

      • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

        I don’t either. But this is an amazing year. Global pandemic. Economic hell. Unemployment heights. Fire tornadoes. Two hurricanes in the gulf. Three-and-a-half months left.

      • usafornow says:

        trump wasn’t nominated legally. The Nobel committee reported both forged applications in 2017 and 2018, but the FBI could determine only that the forged nomination forms originated in the US. His minions didn’t even consider the committee would validate the “signature” with the nominator. The only reason they stop trying was because the Nobel committee revealed the crime publicly the second time they tried it. Clowns.

  7. Leah says:

    So that’s why his campaign was badgering his supporters to donate money not so long ago. They were complaining about him trying to pick their pockets while sending multiple texts/emails a day. I thought it was hilarious that they were being picked clean by the con.

  8. Tiffany says:

    I am been giving to Senate runs (Harrison really looks like he can take down Graham and Arizona and Maine are looking pretty good as well), House runs (anything I can to keep it in the majority) and my state and local government.

    State and local is where it is at. If you want the change you are looking for, you can’t keep talking that at the federal level every four years.

    • cassandra says:

      I’ve been donating to Harrison and omg I hope he wins. Bare minimum, I hope he scares the crap out of Lindsay Graham.

      • DrSnark says:

        Same here! A lot of Harrison signs around SC. Very few Graham signs. I’m hopeful that will translate into a meaningful difference in Nov!

  9. Scal says:

    He golfs every weekend so I’m sure a lot of it somehow went into his own company. I’d also be willing to bet that the lower tier staffers end up not getting paid. That’s his MO.

  10. JennyJenny says:

    I’ve never in my life ever felt compelled to donate to a politician until this year.
    I’ve donated twice to Joe Biden and was pleased and proud to do so.

    • lucy2 says:

      My first donation was to Obama back in 08. He was the first time I felt compelled to do so.
      I’ve done a small donation to Biden, but have been trying to focus my donations more on the Senate and a few House seats, plus other down ballot stuff.

  11. Meredith says:

    I never donated until I campaigned for Hillary in 2016. I finally saw that some of that donation money was going to people on the ground doing the HARD work to get her and other Democrats elected. The people who work in the campaign offices across the country are some of the hardest working people I’ve ever met.

    Right now $5/week goes to Biden. It’s not a lot, but it’s something.

  12. Angela says:

    You mean 800mil in his pockets

  13. Jay says:

    In addition to the undoubted corruption (why should this job be different than any other Trump has had?) it also seems like poor management. His campaign has reportedly spent big on TV ads in places that make no sense, like DC (which is solidly democrat and has no electoral votes – sorry DC) just so Trump will see his own ads on TV. He’s that stupid.

    In other words, they are willing to light money on fire to avoid criticism from Trump.

  14. Jay (the Canadian one) says:

    As amusing as it would be, the math doesn’t totally support the claim that he’s in a crunch. $800m in 19 months is $42m a month, and sounds like there were one-time infrastructure costs in that. There are less than 2 months left and he would have $300m left, so he can spend 3.5x as much per month these last two months and still be ok. Anyway, I imagine “spending” every last cent (probably contracting his own companies) is the goal.

  15. Aimee says:

    He probably used some of that money to pay people to show up to peaceful protests and loot and cause mayhem.

  16. DrSnark says:

    I’ve been getting served a ton of Trump ads on sites like Slate and WaPo. Presumably this is not where Trumpers get their news. I like to interpret as a sign of their desperation. Could also explain blowing through 800M.