On Monday night, further evidence emerged that the Trump campaign is, in fact, a massive garbage fire. It came in the form of a Federal Election Commission report, which detailed the Trump campaign’s fundraising totals and expenses for May. According to the filing, the Trump campaign raised just $3.1 million in May — the same month its candidate officially clinched the Republican nomination.
But Trump spent more than he made in May, paying out $6.7 million (and loaning his own campaign $2.2 million), and ending the month with just $1.3 million on hand — a sum the New York Times said puts him at the “worst financial and organizational disadvantage of any major party nominee in recent history.”
In comparison, Hillary Clinton’s campaign reportedly raised $27 million in May even as she fought to fend off Bernie Sanders, leaving her with $42 million on hand — roughly 32 times the available cash of the Trump campaign. Since she announced her candidacy, Clinton has raised $240 million, while Trump has raised a grand total of $17 million.
Super-pacs supporting Clinton also outpaced groups supporting Trump last month. Priorities USA Action, a group raising money for Clinton, raised about $12.1 million in May and has $51 million in the bank. Meanwhile, Great America PAC, one of two super-pacs that support Trump, raised $1.4 million, leaving it with about $500,000 on hand.
According to The Wall Street Journal, donors’ reluctance is, in part, due to Trump’s own controversial comments, including his insistence that a federal judge is biased against him because of his Mexican heritage and his response to the Orlando shooting:
Fundraisers said some donors are reluctant to link their names to Mr. Trump as several prominent Republicans have backed away from him in recent weeks, with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) effectively giving members of his party a pass to not endorse the nominee. Some donors are waiting for Mr. Trump to make the pivot from appealing to a primary campaign audience to a general-election one before they give to his campaign, fundraisers said.
In addition to direct donors, Trump is relying on the RNC to foot much of the bill for his campaign, including staffing and advertising in swing states. But the RNC hasn’t exactly been raking in the Benjamins either, even in light of Trump’s apparent nomination. It raised $13 million last month, up slightly from $12.5 million in April. By contrast, it raised $34 million just after Mitt Romney became the nominee in 2012 — an increase of $22.6 million from the previous month.
As the Times points out (and as is pretty self-evident), these numbers leave Trump with a huge disadvantage going into the crucial summer months before this fall’s general election. He hasn’t aired an ad since he became the presumptive nominee in May, while Clinton’s campaign spent $26 million on ads in June alone, and his staff of 70 or so is up against Clinton’s staff of 700. He’s outgunned in virtually every way.
What’s more, certain aspects of Trump’s financials are garnering special attention. For instance, about 20 percent of the $6.7 million he spent in May — or about $1.1 million — went to companies he owns or to travel reimbursements for his children, WSJ reports.
His most expensive expenditure for the month was $423,317 to book his own resort — Mar-A-Lago Club in Palm Beach. He paid one of his own golf courses $35,845, another $29,715, and his son Eric’s wine company more than $4,000. About $350,000 of the money the Trump campaign spent on private jets went to TAG Air — an airline Trump owns.
The Trump campaign also paid $35,000 for advertising to a mystery firm called “Draper Sterling,” which might ring a bell for Mad Men fans and which may or may not actually exist.
But no doubt it’s only a matter of time before this all blows over.