‘Plain and simple grift’: Trump has raised $170m since election day

James Crump
·2-min read
President Donald Trump speaks in the Diplomatic Room of the White House on Thanksgiving on 26 November 2020 in Washington, DC ((Getty Images))
President Donald Trump speaks in the Diplomatic Room of the White House on Thanksgiving on 26 November 2020 in Washington, DC ((Getty Images))

President Donald Trump has reportedly raised around $170m (£127m) since 3 November’s election, to help fund his attempts to overturn the result and boost his post-presidency activities.

A source familiar with the finances told The New York Times that the President has raised around $170 million, with a majority of the funds secured in the week after the election.

Since 3 November’s election, Mr Trump and his campaign team have repeatedly sent out emails asking for donations for an “Election Defence Fund.”

Although President-elect Joe Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election earlier this month, Mr Trump has yet to concede, despite officially launching the transition process.

The president and his campaign team have filed 39 unsuccessful lawsuits in battleground states that Mr Biden won. The Trump team has so far provided no definitive evidence of any voting irregularities.

Although the campaign has claimed that the donations are for the “defence fund”, the fine print of the communication suggests that much of the money donated to support that effort since election day has instead paid down campaign debt and replenished the Republican National Committee (RNC).

The money has also been spent helping Save America, a new political action committee Mr Trump founded following the election, get started.

75 per cent of every contribution goes to Save America. The other 25 per cent goes to the RNC.

A donor has to give more than $5,000 (£3,780) before any of the contribution goes towards fighting the election result. Save America’s finances can be spent on personal expenses.

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Last month, Paul S Ryan, a campaign finance attorney with the good government group Common Cause, criticised the move by Mr Trump.

“This is a slush fund. That’s the bottom line,” he said. “Trump may just continue to string out this meritless litigation in order to fleece his own supporters of their money and use it in the coming years to pad his own lifestyle while teasing a 2024 candidacy,” Mr Ryan added.

Rob Flaherty, who served as the digital director on Mr Biden’s campaign, said the fund raised by Mr Trump is a “plain and simple grift,” in a tweet on Monday.

While, last month, Mr Biden’s spokesperson Andrew Bates said President Trump’s fundraising scheme was not surprising.

“Given the rate at which these lawsuits are being thrown out of court one after another, it’s fitting to learn that they were never engineered to succeed in the first place and are instead the dismal basis for a dog and pony show,” he said.

The Independent has contacted the Trump campaign for comment.

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