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Trump's campaign said it raised $50 million at high-dollar fundraiser

Trump and the Republican Party have struggled to catch up to President Biden and the Democrats on the fundraising front.
Trump's campaign said it raised $50.5 million at a high-dollar Florida
Posted at 5:14 PM, Apr 07, 2024

Donald Trump's campaign said it raised $50.5 million on Saturday, a staggering reported haul as his campaign works to catch up to the fundraising juggernaut of President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party.

The reported haul from the event with major donors at the Palm Beach, Florida, home of billionaire investor John Paulson sets a new single-event fundraising record and is almost double the $26 million that President Biden's campaign said it raised recently at a gathering with former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

"It's clearer than ever that we have the message, the operation, and the money to propel President Trump to victory on November 5," his campaign senior advisers Chris LaCivita and Susie Wiles said in a statement.

The event, billed as the "Inaugural Leadership Dinner," sends a signal of a resurgence of Trump and the Republican Party's fundraising, which has lagged behind President Biden and the Democrats.

"This has been some incredible evening before it even starts because people — they wanted to contribute to a cause of making America great again, and that's what's happened," Trump said briefly to reporters as he arrived at the event with his wife Melania Trump.

Trump and the GOP announced earlier in the week that they raised more than $65.6 million in March and closed out the month with $93.1 million. President Biden and the Democrats announced Saturday that they took in more than $90 million last month and had $192 million-plus on hand.

"While Donald Trump has been busy awarding himself golf trophies at Mar-a-Lago and palling around with billionaires, Joe Biden has been crisscrossing the nation connecting with voters and outlining his vision to grow our economy from the bottom up and the middle out," Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison said in a statement, referring to Trump's Florida residence.

Campaign fundraising reports filed with the Federal Election Commission detailing donations from Saturday's event are not expected until a mid-July filing date.

Trump initially struggled to attract big donors in particular when he launched his campaign and some lined up to support the other Republicans who challenged him in the presidential primary. But as Trump racked up easy wins, leveled the field and became the party's presumptive nominee, the GOP has solidified behind him.

Saturday's high-dollar event hosted about 100 guests, including more than a few billionaires. Contributions to the event will go toward the Trump 47 Committee, according to the invitation, a joint fundraising agreement with the Republican National Committee, state Republican parties and Save America, a political action committee that pays the bulk of Trump's legal bills. In an unusual arrangement, the fundraising agreement directs donations to first pay the maximum allowed under law to his campaign and Save America before the RNC or state parties get a cut.

SEE MORE: Inside the Race: GOP fundraising in March, issues impacting campaigns

Donors who gave the suggested $814,600 per person or $250,000 per person will only have $5,000 of their donation go to Save America, sending hundreds of thousands of dollars to the cash-strapped RNC.

As Trump prepared in March to install a new handpicked leadership team at the RNC, including his daughter-in-law Lara Trump, some members of the RNC worried that the committee's money would go toward Trump's sizable legal fees as he fights a number of court cases, including four criminal cases.

The fundraising arrangement doesn't direct RNC funds to Trump's legal bills. But when checks of any amount are written to the combined campaign, the campaign and Save America get paid first by default.

Co-chairs of the fundraiser include Robert Bigelow, a Las Vegas-based businessman who had supported Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' presidential campaign; New York grocery billionaire John Catsimatidis; Linda McMahon, the former World Wrestling Entertainment executive and head of the Small Business Administration while Trump was president; casino mogul Steve Wynn; and former Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler, according to the invitation.

Guests were asked to contribute $814,600 per person as a "chairman" contributor, which came with seating at Trump's table, or $250,000 per person as a "host committee" contributor. Both options come with a photo opportunity and a personalized copy of Trump's coffee table book featuring photographs from his administration, "Our Journey Together."

Three of Trump's former rivals for the GOP nomination — South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy — were expected to appear as "special guests."

Hours before the fundraiser, Trump complained on his social media site about the judge in his upcoming New York hush-money trial and the former president once more compared himself to the late Nelson Mandela, who was jailed for years by South Africa's longtime apartheid government before he became the country's leader.

"If this Partisan Hack wants to put me in the 'clink' for speaking the open and obvious TRUTH, I will gladly become a Modern Day Nelson Mandela - It will be my GREAT HONOR," Trump wrote.

In response, Biden campaign official Jasmine Harris said: "Imagine being so self-centered that you compare yourself to Jesus Christ and Nelson Mandela all within the span of little more than a week: that's Donald Trump for you."

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