Trump rakes in $50 mn as fundraising war with Biden heats up

AFP , Sunday 7 Apr 2024

Donald Trump's campaign said it took in more than $50 million at a single fundraising event Saturday in Florida -- the latest salvo in a swaggering, high-stakes battle for big money with Joe Biden.

Former President Donald Trump, right, stands with Melania Trump as they arrive for a GOP fundraiser, April 2024, in Palm Beach, Fla. AP


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.

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 $25 million -- a record, according to his team.

But the 77-year-old Trump's campaign said he doubled that figure at the event at the Palm Beach home of billionaire hedge fund manager John Paulson, not far from Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort.

In a joint statement with the Republican National Committee, Team Trump said the event raised more than $50.5 million, calling Biden's event last week in New York "desperate" in comparison.

As he entered the venue with wife Melania at his side, Trump said: "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."

In a statement, Paulson said: "This sold-out event has raised the most in a single political fundraiser in history. This overwhelming support demonstrates the enthusiasm for President Trump and his policies."

 $814,600 to sit near Trump

The Palm Beach guest list included 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 were also on the list, 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 cost $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 criticize Trump's fundraiser.

"While Trump is raising money from a bunch of hedge fund billionaires, our grassroots campaign raised $187M this quarter because of folks like you," he said Saturday 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.

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