Aides say Trump will not self-fund his campaign
Bowing to reality, Donald Trump reversed himself and will not self-fund his campaign, according to top aides.
To date, Trump has taken out several personal loans to finance what, until recently, was a bare-bones operation. But with the prospect of Hillary Clinton raising more than a billion dollars, Trump now feels he must tap his extensive personal network of rich friends, as well as other traditional GOP donors, in order to compete.
Facing a prospective tab of more than $1 billion to finance a general-election run for the White House, Donald Trump reversed course Wednesday and said he would actively raise money to ensure his campaign has the resources to compete with Hillary Clinton’s fundraising juggernaut.
His campaign also is beginning to work with the Republican National Committee to set up a joint fundraising committee after his last two rivals—Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov.John Kasich—dropped out in the wake of Mr. Trump’s resounding Indiana win on Tuesday.
“I’ll be putting up money, but won’t be completely self-funding,” the presumptive Republican nominee said in an interview Wednesday. Mr. Trump, who had largely self-financed his successful primary run, added that he would create a “world-class finance organization.” The campaign will tap his expansive personal Rolodex and a new base of supporters who aren’t on party rolls, two Trump advisers said.
The new plan represents a shift for Mr. Trump, who has for months portrayed his Republican opponents as “puppets” for relying on super PACs and taking contributions from wealthy donors that he said came with strings attached.
Mr. Trump’s creation of a joint fundraising committee comes eight months behind that of his likely general-election foe, Mrs. Clinton. She and the Democratic National Committee reached an agreement last August to create the Hillary Victory Fund, which raised more than $60 million through the end of March. Of that, about $13 million has been transferred to Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, while nearly $6 million has gone to the DNC.
The former secretary of state raised more than $213 million for her campaign through the end of April, on top of more than $67 million raised by her allied super PACs.
On Wednesday, her campaign emailed a donation appeal with the line: “16 Republicans tried and failed to stop Trump—now it’s up to us.”
For his part, Mr. Trump lent his campaign $36 million of the $47 million he spent on the primaries through March, with the rest coming mostly from small donations.
Despite the promise of several top GOP donors not to support him, there is little doubt that Trump will be able to raise all the money he needs to be competitive. Even some of his Democratic friends will probably pony up to support him.
Most of Trump's wealth is tied up in his extensive list of high-value properties. It was never very likely he would sell off a few of them to fund his campaign.
One wild card in Trump's financing is the impact of free media. There is no doubt that Trump will remain good copy for cable nets. If he continues to receive the coverage he's getting now, he can save on buying ads and spend the money on creating a ground game second to none. That's something that Clinton doesn't have and can never get.