Advertisement

Trump claimed he had $500m ‘in cash’ for his campaign. Will he use it now? ‘None of your business’

Last week, Donald Trump claimed he had “almost” $500m “in cash” that he obtained “through hard work, talent and luck.”

He said that “substantial amount” was intended to fund his presidential campaign.

Days later, facing an imminent deadline to post an appeals bond of nearly half a billion dollars to block enforcement of civil fraud judgment against him, the former president suggested he had “a similar amount in my bank account” and he “intended to use much of that hard earned money on running for President.”

But after a New York appeals court allowed Mr Trump to post a $175m bond up to 10 days after Monday’s deadline to come up with the cash, the Republican Party’s likely nominee for president said it’s “none of your business” if he actually puts up any of his own money for his campaign.

The former president hasn’t contributed to his own campaign since 2016. Asked on Monday whether he plans to this time, he said: “Well, first of all, it’s none of your business, I mean, frankly. I might. I might do that. I have the option. But if I had to spend $500m on a bond, I wouldn’t have that option. I’d have to start selling things. I don’t have to sell anything.”

During a taped deposition in the civil fraud case last year, Mr Trump claimed he has more than $400m in cash. His attorney Alina Habba told Newsmax last month that “of course” Mr Trump has money to pay off the judgment against him. “He’s a billionaire,” she said.

Mr Trump stated in his 2021 statement of financial condition – the documents at the centre of the case, and the most recent available from the trial – that he had roughly $294m in cash, a figure that New York Attorney General Letitia James alleges is inflated.

Donald Trump speaks to reporters from 40 Wall Street on 25 March. (AP)
Donald Trump speaks to reporters from 40 Wall Street on 25 March. (AP)

Last week, Mr Trump’s attorneys told an appeals court that 30 companies he approached to help him secure bond in excess of $454m have all turned him down. Those 30 companies are “unwilling” to use his star properties as collateral after a judge found him liable for fraudulently inflating the value of his real estate portfolio, they wrote.

A ruling from New York Justice Arthur Engoron last month found that Mr Trump defrauded banks and insurers by submitting manipulated financial statements to obtain favourable terms for some of his star properties.

The total “disgorgement” owed back to the state for those “ill-gotten gains” totalled more than $354m, including $100m in interest, plus tens of thousands of dollars in daily interest.

“Why should I let a crooked judge make a decision to give $450m, that allows me to spend very little money on my campaign, if I so choose,” Mr Trump told reporters from 40 Wall Street on Monday.

“I’ll be spending money on my campaign. I might spend a lot of money on my campaign. But I should have that option,” he added. “A crooked judge shouldn’t say we’re going to have you post a bond and take all of that money that I could be spending on a campaign or other things, if I want to do other things.”

Asked whether he would accept foreign money to support his campaign, which is prohibited under federal campaign finance law, Mr Trump said: “I don’t do that.”

“I think you’d be allowed to possibly, I don’t know,” he added. “The biggest banks, frankly, are outside of our country. So you could do that. But I don’t need to borrow money.”

The former president is expecting a major windfall from the recently approved merger between the parent company of his Truth Social platform and the publicly traded shell company Digital World Acquisition Corporation. He could reap billions of dollars in shares from the deal, but he likely won’t be able to tap any of that money for at least six months.

Meanwhile, political action committees supporting Mr Trump spent more than $50m on the former president’s attorneys and legal fees last year, and the Republican National Committee is stepping in to help Mr Trump raise money to pay his legal bills. Last month, Save America spent nearly $5.6m on such fees, outpacing the $5m it brought in.