2020-10-21 19:47:23 UTC
*President Donald TrumpŽs sprawling political operation has raised well
over $1 billion since he took the White House in 2017
*But disclosures have revealed that the president's campaign has fallen
behind rival Biden's after plowing the cash into ads, consultants and
*Big outgoings include a $10million Super Bowl ad, $100,000 spent on
copies of Donald Trump Jr's book 'Triggered' and $36million spent on Trump
*On Monday, the firm Medium Buying reported Trump was canceling ad buys in
Wisconsin, Minnesota and Ohio, which could be crucial battleground states
*Biden and his Democratic allies are on pace to dump $142 million into ads
in the closing days of the campaign, outspending Republicans by more than
*Veteran Republican consultant Mike Murphy said: 'Ten monkeys with
flamethrowers wouldn't have burned through it as stupidly'
President Donald TrumpŽs sprawling political operation has raised well
over $1 billion since he took the White House in 2017 - and already burned
through a lot of it.
Trump's campaign has fallen behind that of rival Joe Biden after a series
of costly purchases - and is now having to cancel ad buys as the Democrats
look set to outspend him two-to-one.
The Associated Press revealed Trump bought a $10 million Super Bowl ad
when he didn't yet have a challenger, while aides made flashy displays of
their newfound wealth - including a fleet of luxury vehicles purchased by
Brad Parscale, his former campaign manager.
Trump also tapped his political organization to cover exorbitant legal
fees related to his impeachment.
The campaign also spent $100,000 on copies of Donald Trump Jr.'s book
'Triggered', helping it become a bestseller, as well as $35.9 million on
Meanwhile, a web of limited liability companies hid more than $356 million
in spending from disclosure, records show.
'They spent their money on unnecessary overhead,
lifestyles-of-the-rich-and-famous activity by the campaign staff and
vanity ads,' said Mike Murphy, a veteran Republican consultant who advised
John McCain and Jeb Bush and is an outspoken Trump critic.
He added: 'You could literally have 10 monkeys with flamethrowers go after
the money, and they wouldn't have burned through it as stupidly.'
Now, just two weeks out from the election, some campaign aides privately
acknowledge they are facing difficult spending decisions at a time when
Democratic nominee Joe Biden has flooded the airwaves with advertising.
That has put Trump in the position of needing to do more of his signature
rallies as a substitute during the coronavirus pandemic while relying on
an unproven theory that he can turn out supporters who are infrequent
voters at historic levels.
For Trump, itŽs a familiar, if not welcome, position. In 2016, he was
vastly outraised by Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton but still pulled
off a come-from-behind win.
This time around, though, he was betting on a massive cash advantage to
negatively define Biden and to defend his own record.
Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien insisted money was no issue. 'We have
more than sufficient air cover, almost three times as much as 2016,' he
told reporters Monday.
Biden, Stepien added, was 'putting it all on TV,' as he eschewed most
door-knocking because of the pandemic, while Trump has roughly 2,000 field
staffers across the country knocking on doors and making calls for his
'Where we have states that are sort of tipping, could go either way,'
Trump told campaign staffers Monday, 'I have an ability to go to those
states and rally. Biden has no ability. I go to a rally, we have 25,000
people. He goes to a rally, and he has four people.'
Advertising spending figures, however, offer a bleak picture.
While a half-dozen pro-Trump outside groups are coming to the president's
aid, Biden and his Democratic allies are on pace to dump $142 million into
ads in the closing days of the campaign, outspending Republicans by more
than 2-to-1, according to data from the ad tracking firm CMAG/Kantar.
On Monday, the firm Medium Buying reported Trump was canceling ad buys in
Wisconsin; Minnesota, which Trump had hoped to flip; and Ohio, which went
for Trump in 2016 but now appears to be a tight contest.
It's a reversal from May, when Biden's campaign was strapped for cash and
Parscale ominously compared the Trump campaign to a 'Death Star' that was
about to 'start pressing FIRE for the first time.'
The ad campaign they unrolled over the next three months cost over $176
million but did little to dent Biden's lead in public opinion polling.
Trump is now in a position that's virtually unthinkable for an incumbent
president, said Travis Ridout, co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project,
which tracks advertising spending.
---> Where the Trump campaign cash went
$10 million Super Bowl ad when he didn't yet have a challenger
Nearly $100,000 spent on copies of Donald Trump Jr.Žs book 'Triggered,'
which helped propel it to the top of the New York Times bestsellers list.
$319.4 million was paid to American Made Media Consultants, a Delaware
limited liability company, whose owners are not publicly disclosed
A web of limited liability companies hid more than $356 million in
spending from disclosure, records show.
Over $7.4 million spent at Trump-branded properties since 2017.
At least $35.9 million spent on Trump merchandise.
$39 million in legal and 'compliance' fees. In addition to tapping the RNC
and his campaign to pay legal costs during his impeachment proceedings,
Trump has also relied on his political operation to cover legal costs for
At least $15.1 million spent on the Republican National Convention, which
was ultimately canceled, with a mostly online convention taking its place
$39 million has been paid to firms controlled by Brad Parscale, who was
ousted as campaign manager over the summer
$912,000 spent on ads that ran on the personal Facebook pages of Parscale
and Trump spokesperson Katrina Pierson.
A $250,000 ad run during Game 7 of the 2019 World Series, which came after
Trump was booed by spectators when he attended Game 5.
At least $218,000 for Trump surrogates to travel aboard private jets
provided by campaign donors.
$1.6 million on TV ads in the Washington, D.C., media market, an
overwhelmingly Democratic area where Trump has little chance of winning
but where he is a regular TV watcher.