Donald Trump went into the final sprint of the election with a funding war chest one-third the size of Joe Biden, but he has yet to open his chequebook to close the gap.
The Biden campaign went into the home stretch with more than $177m in the bank compared to Mr Trump’s $63.1m, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.
Despite saying in early September that he would spend “whatever it takes” if more money was needed, Mr Trump hasn’t spent a dime to his re-election campaign and aides are reluctant to ask directly, according to The New York Times’ reporting this week.
“But we’re doing very well. We needed to spend more money upfront because of the pandemic and the statements being made by Democrats, which were, again, disinformation,” Mr Trump said when asked in September.
“But if we needed any more, I’d put it up personally, like I did in the primaries last time. In the 2016 primaries, I put up a lot of money. If I have to, I’ll do it here. But we don’t have to because we have double and maybe even triple what we had a number of years ago.”
Mr Trump loaned his $43.5 million to his 2016 campaign during the Republican primaries and uses that as evidence to support claims he is not influenced by money in politics.
When asked how much he was willing to give in 2020, Mr Trump added: “Whatever it takes. We have to win. This is the most important election in the history of our country.”
….Like I did in the 2016 Primaries, if more money is needed, which I doubt it will be, I will put it up!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 8, 2020
While going into October with $63.1 million in the bank puts Mr Trump on par with Hillary Clinton’s 2016 ledger, it is a fraction of the $1billion he has raised throughout the election cycle and is a reversal from where the Republican and Democrat campaigns began. Mr Trump started the year with $100 million in the bank compared to about $10 million for Mr Biden.
The Trump campaign met with the Republican National Committee (RNC) last week to discuss funding campaign operations in the final stretch, including the possibility of taking out a loan or deferring payments until after election day, a person familiar with the matter told the Times
In response, the RNC announced a $55m advertising campaign in key swing states. Campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said the spend was a 40 per cent increase over their initial plans.
Trump campaign’s deputy national press secretary Ken Farnaso said in a statement they had all the resources they need “to combat Joe Biden’s Hollywood funded, elitist campaign in the home stretch of this election”.
“We are confident that the American people can see through Biden’s smokescreen and know that our grassroots mobilization, unmatched enthusiasm, and comprehensive ground game strategy wipes the floor with Biden’s sorry excuse for a campaign,” Mr Farnaso said in a statement to The Hill.