early and often

Donald Trump Still Hasn’t Solved His Fundraising Problem

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As Donald Trump launches his general-election campaign, one of the biggest questions is whether the billionaire will replicate the spendthrift approach that propelled him through the primaries. Publicly, Trump insists he’s prepared to open his wallet to take on his most likely Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. Just how much is he willing to pay? A Trump national spokesperson told Fox News earlier this week “he would sell a building” to spend “a billion dollars of his own money to make America great again.”

Behind the scenes, however, some Trump staffers remain skeptical. “It’s unclear to me where the money is going to come from — whether it’s the RNC, the super-pac, or whether we’re going to start raising money,” one said. When I visited Trump Tower in March, I heard Trump deputy campaign manager Michael Glassner saying, “I have to find a place for these rich guys to go to … dinners, receptions, events. We need everything, because we don’t have a finance committee.” Trump himself is even sending mixed signals. “Do I want to sell a couple of buildings and self-fund?” Trump told  MSNBC on Wednesday. “I don’t know that I want to do that necessarily.” 

Given that Democrats reportedly plan to hit Trump with $20 million in negative advertising before the GOP convention this July, and some of the GOP’s biggest donors may sit out this election, Trump needs to resolve the fundraising question. In part to quell this uncertainty, Trump’s convention manager, Paul Manafort, plans to hold a senior staff meeting at Trump Tower in the coming days to strategize all aspects of the campaign, including fundraising, advertising, and messaging. This week, Trump hired money manager Steven Mnuchin to head up his fledgling fundraising apparatus. “We’re entering a new phase, and we want to get everyone on the same page,” Manafort told me. “The purpose of the meeting is to start framing everything for the general.”

Donald Trump’s Fundraising Problem