Trump is losing the cash race to Biden

Former President Trump is lagging far behind President Biden in fundraising, potentially putting him at a significant disadvantage as the general election race kicks into gear.

Trump saw an uptick in his February fundraising compared to January, but his monthly haul, as well as his cash on hand entering March, was far surpassed by the Biden operation.

Election filings made public Wednesday showed Trump’s 2024 campaign brought in $10.9 million last month, while his joint fundraising committee raised nearly $11 million. His operation overall had about $42 million in cash on hand entering March.

Those figures lagged far behind Biden’s campaign operation, which raised roughly $53 million in February, giving it $155 million in cash on hand entering March.

“It’s piss poor,” one GOP strategist acknowledged Thursday. “All I can say is they need to do better. Much better. I still think he could win regardless, but they’ve got to keep this competitive, and it’s not right now.” 

Doug Heye, a longtime Republican strategist, said the numbers were indicative of apprehension among GOP donors, particularly because of the former president’s legal problems.

“Money doesn’t determine everything, but the lack of cash in the coffers — along with the field staff being laid off and the still existing fear that RNC funds will be used to pay Trump’s lawyers are scaring off more voters,” Heye said. 

On Thursday, the Biden campaign piled on, taking a jab at Trump using the presumptive Republican nominee’s own “You’re fired” mantra from his old NBC show “The Apprentice” to make the point that he’s losing the race for dollars.

“If Donald Trump put up these kinds of numbers on ‘The Apprentice,’ he’d fire himself,” Biden campaign communications director Michael Tyler said in a statement. “But here’s why he ain’t got it: his extreme, toxic agenda of banning abortion, slashing Social Security, and promoting political violence is repelling donors and doing exactly *nothing* to earn support from the voters who will decide this election.”

“Even if he had the money, it’s not a message the voters would buy,” Tyler added.

In a memo to reporters Thursday, Biden spokesperson Ammar Moussa noted Trump spent roughly one-third of what he raised on legal fees, a problem that is unlikely to fade as the former president faces four criminal trials and dozens of felony charges.

And the Biden campaign expressed confidence they’d continue to run up the score, pointing to the $10 million it raised in the 24 hours after Biden’s State of the Union address.

Biden held three fundraisers in Texas this week, and he is set to attend two more next week, including one in New York City alongside former Presidents Obama and Clinton.

Trump, who became the GOP’s presumptive nominee earlier this month, could see a fundraising boost as the general election matchup crystallizes for voters and as he merges his operations with the Republican National Committee (RNC). But the RNC itself is trailing in the cash race, holding about $11 million in the bank entering March compared to the Democratic National Committee’s $26 million cash on hand.

Further compounding Trump’s problems, the former president has been burning through cash to pay his legal fees as he faces four separate criminal trials. He is also facing a looming deadline to pay a $454 million judgment after a New York judge determined he conspired to inflate his assets for tax and insurance benefits and was liable for fraud.

The former president is hosting a big fundraiser in Florida in early April, which his allies hope will boost his coffers and rally major donors to his side for the marathon general election campaign.

Some Republicans maintain that the money won’t help Biden, even if he is leading in the race for cash.

“People think he’s old and feeble,” said Shermichael Singleton, a Republican strategist. “They think he’s a failure on the economy, a failure on immigration, a failure on Middle East policy. And all the money in the world isn’t going to change that.”

Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee in 2016, comfortably outraised and outspent Trump during that campaign, only to lose on Election Night.

Recalling that race, Heye, who served as a communications aide at the RNC, said Trump could win again. He pointed to Biden’s current polling in key states, and his approval rating, which remains underwater.

“Trump won in 2016 without a real team or fundraising apparatus,” he said. “And if polling and fears are correct, could do so again.”

Still, he added, “Clearly the donor community needs more reassurance.” 

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