And here we thought that Donald Trump was a billionaire. But he can’t even scrape together enough cash to run ads this summer.
Reports suggest that Trump has been unwilling to undergo the ego effacement of calling high dollar Republican donors and asking for money. His campaign has virtually no money in the bank ($2.4m at last count).
Even if Trump can’t not be Trump, the damage of being Trump could at least be off-set by pouring money into advertising in key swing states and field work. But at this moment, the Clinton campaign (and pro-Clinton superPACs) is rolling out a barrage of targeted swing state advertising focused on solidifying and embedding the highly negative image Trump has built for himself over the last year and especially the last eight weeks. That advertising is going entirely unanswered by the Trump campaign.
Trump may be unwilling to abase himself by dialing for dollars and his digital fundraising may be anemic. But at the scale of Trump’s purported wealth, the sums in question are actually paltry. It may take a billion dollars to run a presidential campaign. But at this moment Trump is in dire need of a few million dollars. To go back to cash on hand, Trump currently has $2.4 million and Clinton has just over $30 million. Remember, Trump is allegedly worth $10 billion, which at the risk of stating the obvious means he is worth ten thousand million dollars. Someone in that position might be hard pressed to quickly produce billions of dollars or even hundreds of million in actual cash. But we’re talking tens of millions or even just a few million dollars he needs right now.
Trump may be stingy. He may be saying that the RNC should take responsibility for fundraising, which is something it’s clearly not capable of doing. (The RNC has massive fundraising capacity but it can’t simply take on singlehanded what the candidate was expected to raise.) But as big a disaster as Trump’s campaign is at the moment he stands a real shot at being the next president of the United States. It is simply not credible that he is standing on principle in not giving his campaign any more money at such a critical moment when his bid is being so deeply damaged.
The only credible answer is that it is difficult or perhaps even impossible for him to produce these comparatively small sums. If that’s true, his claim to be worth billions of dollars must either be a pure sham and a fraud or some artful concoction of extreme leverage and accounting gimmickry, which makes it impossible to come up with actual cash.
There’s a story going around that the RNC gave Mr. Trump a list of potential donors to call to raise money for his campaign, but after he made just three calls, he gave up. There are a couple of reasons for his reluctance: his pride can’t stand the idea of him humiliating himself to ask for money, or the responses he got amounted to polite versions of Hell No.
Actually I think he’s rich on paper but in terms of liquidity he’s so stretched that he can barely get by on what he’s got now. Imagine what it’s going to be like in three months.