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

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.

Photos courtesy of Backgrid.

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