Is the Trump Campaign Struggling for Cash? Not Really – As former President Donald Trump officially kicks his 2024 presidential campaign into gear, his campaign’s finances are facing fresh scrutiny from the nation’s media – but some claims don’t hold water.
Donald Trump: Money Problems for 2024?
On February 1, The Associated Press reported how Trump is starting his third White House bid “lagging in campaign cash,” implying that the former president is falling behind his competitors – despite being the first Republican to confirm his candidacy – or that he is struggling to raise the same kind of money he did in both 2016 and 2020.
According to AP, Trump started the new year with $25 million sidelines for his 2024 presidential campaign, a figure that’s lower than the cash he had on hand a year ago – some $105 million. The figures come from publicly available campaign finance reports.
The campaign finance reports show that the former president has raised some $9.5 million since he officially announced his run on November 15.
According to Donlad Trump spokesman Steven Cheung, the former president will “wage an aggressive and fully-funded campaign” to beat President Joe Biden.
The New York Times also describes Trump’s fund-raising in the first weeks of 2024 as “relatively weak.”
Politico also reported that Trump’s committee “burns through cash in early months,” a headline that partially explains the numbers. While Trump’s numbers may be down somewhat – hardly surprising, so soon into the campaign – there are several important factors to consider when analyzing Team Trump’s campaign finances.
The first is that money is being spent – as campaigns tend to do. But there’s more to this story.
The Money Is Actually Still There
The Associated Press, while arguing that Trump’s campaign is “lagging” behind in terms of fundraising, also acknowledges that $60 million from Trump’s Save America PAC was transferred to a new super PAC specifically designed to support his presidential bid.
The new PAC, MAGA Inc., was registered in 2023 and has more than $54 million at hand, according to reports that were filed on Tuesday, January 31.
Experts can’t agree on whether the moving around of campaign funds is completely legal. However, with so much scrutiny directed towards the former president, it doesn’t seem likely that his campaign – and his campaign’s lawyers – would allow the former president to break the law.
That being said, CNN reports how Larry Noble, a former Federal Election Commission lawyer, said that candidates could not take so-called “soft money” from one fund, where donations exceed candidate contribution limits, and move that money to a presidential campaign entity.
Technicalities aside – Team Trump is not short on cash.
Money has, however, been moved from one entity to another, and fundraising will kick into gear with a specific focus on Trump’s presidential campaign rather than just his post-presidency activity.
Donald Trump has also spent big on legal defense ever since leaving the White House.
$7.9 million has been spent by Trump’s political action committees on legal fees relating to disputed claims that he attempted a “coup,” and unproven claims that he incited a riot on January 6, 2021.
Claims that Donald Trump is short on cash are premature and could well be politically motivated, and the world should have a better idea of how well the former president can raise funds for a third White House bid in the coming months.
Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.