Major Trump fundraiser the latest in big bucks battle with Biden

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Major Trump fundraiser the latest in big bucks battle with Biden

Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - File photo of former US President and 2024 presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaking during a campaign rally at the Hyatt Regency in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on April 2, 2024. — AFP pic

WASHINGTON, Apr 7 — Major political donors will gather today in Donald Trump’s fiefdom of Palm Beach for a fundraising event that his campaign hopes will mark a new phase in a swaggering, high-stakes race for big money with Joe Biden.

While spending huge sums of money on campaigning may not be something to brag about in some countries, it’s often a source of pride for US political candidates.

And this year, raising big bucks is as important as ever, with the November 5 presidential election expected to be the most expensive electoral cycle in US history.

The Republican former president and the Democratic incumbent have been working to outraise each other for months, boasting about each new significant cash infusion.

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Biden, 81, raised the stakes at the end of March when he headlined a huge event in New York with former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton at his side, raking in at least US$25 million (RM119 million) — a record, according to his team.

But the 77-year-old Trump is hoping to raise nearly twice as much at the Florida event today — between US$43 and US$50 million, according to US media.

The event will take place at the home of billionaire hedge fund manager John Paulson, not far from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.

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“The response to our fundraising efforts has been overwhelming, and we’ve raised over US$43 million so far. There is massive support amongst a broad spectrum of donors,” Paulson said in a statement sent to AFP.

“Biggest night in Fund Raising of ALL TIME!!! Will double up the Biden number of last week at Radio City,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform.

File photo of former US President and 2024 presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaking during a campaign rally at the Hyatt Regency in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on April 2, 2024. — AFP pic

File photo of former US President and 2024 presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaking during a campaign rally at the Hyatt Regency in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on April 2, 2024. — AFP pic

US$814,600 to sit near Trump

The Palm Beach guest list will include businessman Robert Bigelow, who made a fortune in the hotel industry before launching an aerospace research company, and John Catsimatidis, owner of a major grocery store chain. Both are major Republican donors.

Some of Trump’s former Republican rivals will also be in attendance, including Senator Tim Scott, tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum.

After suspending their presidential campaigns, the trio have fully endorsed Trump, perhaps angling for a job in his administration if he succeeds in returning to the White House.

According to The Washington Post, a seat at Trump’s table costs US$814,600.

Such astronomical sums are used to finance candidates’ travel, pay their aides, commission opinion polls and, the costliest of all — buy television ads.

Biden, who portrays himself as a product and champion of the middle class, was quick to criticise Trump’s fundraiser.

“While Trump is raising money from a bunch of hedge fund billionaires, our grassroots campaign raised US$187M this quarter because of folks like you,” he said yesterday on X, formerly Twitter.

At the moment, Biden’s campaign war chest is bigger than Trump’s, as the former president faces mounting legal fees stemming from multiple criminal indictments.

Biden’s campaign was all too happy to point that out, referring to Trump as “Broke Don” in a recent statement about the billionaire, who himself is known for using mean nicknames. — AFP

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