Trump says US$50m raised from biggest fundraiser yet

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Trump says US$50m raised from biggest fundraiser yet

Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - File photo of Republican presidential candidate and former US President Donald Trump speaking during a campaign rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, US, April 2, 2024. — Reuters pic

WASHINGTON, April 7 — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign said a major fundraiser in Florida today raked in a massive US$50.5 million (RM240 million) as the former president seeks to replenish diminished coffers in his rematch against Democrat Joe Biden.

The event, his biggest fundraiser yet, is a much-needed boost for Trump, who has been routinely outraised by Biden and is in the midst of a financial squeeze due to ballooning lawyer fees and legal pay-outs from his criminal and civil court cases.

The dinner, hosted at billionaire hedge fund manager John Paulson’s Palm Beach home, will allocate a portion of the money to be raised to a fundraising group that has spent tens of millions of dollars on Trump’s legal fees.

While Trump has struggled to get some major traditional Republican donors on board, he retains the support of some heavy hitters. Co-hosts today, for example, include hedge-fund investor Robert Mercer and his daughter and conservative activist Rebekah, investor Scott Bessent, and casino mogul Phil Ruffin, according to the fundraiser invitation seen by Reuters.

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“People are just wanting change. Rich people want it, poor people want it,” said Trump in comments ahead of the fundraiser, flanked by his wife Melania Trump, who has largely stayed away from the campaign trail so far.

Biden spokesperson Ammar Moussa said on social media site X that billionaires had flocked to Trump’s event due to tax preferences. “The ultra-wealthy are really mad at Joe Biden for making them pay their fair share,” he posted.

Paulson has been floated by Trump as a potential Treasury secretary, according to two sources. Bessent has also been floated for the role, one of those sources said.

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In a statement today, Paulson said the “overwhelming support” at the dinner, which 100 guests were expected to attend, was a sign of enthusiasm for Trump.

Trump’s camp stressed the haul was double what Biden raised last month in an over US$25 million star-studded fundraiser with former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

The numbers will not be confirmed until filings are submitted to the Federal Election Commission. Campaigns sometimes exaggerate fundraising hauls to drive momentum.

Trump’s campaign said last month that it would be unable to match Biden’s fundraising totals this year. His campaign, together with a joint fundraising committee, pulled in US$20.3 million in February, compared with the more than $53 million raised by Biden’s re-election effort that month.

For Trump, “it will be important to figure out ways to continue this fundraising momentum with a combination of large/small dollar events,” said Republican strategist Ron Bonjean.

Combination picture showing former US President Donald Trump and US President Joe Biden. — Reuters pic

Combination picture showing former US President Donald Trump and US President Joe Biden. — Reuters pic

Fine print

More money is not always an indication of success, however. Trump beat Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016 after she raised US$769.9 million, far more than the US$433.4 million he raised.

Trump, who clinched the Republican presidential nomination last month, can now raise money with the Republican National Committee (RNC), which his daughter-in-law co-chairs, ahead of the November 5 election.

The Trump 47 Committee, a new fundraising tie-up with the RNC, directs funds to Trump’s Save America leadership group before anything goes to the RNC, the invitation shows.

The Trump 47 Committee is asking top donors to contribute up to US$814,600 per person. The first US$6,600 of any person’s contribution would go to Trump’s presidential campaign, according to the invitation.

A maximum of US$5,000 per person would then be allocated to Save America. After Save America gets its share, the RNC would get a cut of up to US$413,000. In the cases of the biggest contributions, a raft of Republican state parties would get funds too. — Reuters

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