Trump Campaign Reportedly Telling GOP Insiders It’s Low On Cash
Donald Trump is apparently having money troubles.
Donald Trump’s campaign is telling Senators and other Republicans in the know that it is ‘low on cash’ and therefore won’t be running ads any time soon:
Donald Trump’s campaign has alerted Senate Republicans that he won’t have much money to spend fending off attacks from Hillary Clinton over the next couple months.
The notice came when Paul Manafort, Trump’s senior advisor, met with a group of Senate Republican chiefs of staff for lunch last week, sources familiar with the meeting told the Washington Examiner. The admission suggests that Trump will be far more dependent on the GOP brass for money than he has led voters to believe, but it’s consistent with his reliance on the Republican National Committee to provide a ground game in battleground states.
“They know that they’re not going to have enough money to be on TV in June and probably most of July, until they actually accept the nomination and get RNC funds, so they plan to just use earned media to compete on the airwaves,” one GOP source familiar with Manafort’s comments told the Examiner.
That’s a far cry from Trump’s public insistence that he signed a fundraising agreement with the RNC in order to help the party, not himself. “The RNC really wanted to do it, and I want to show good spirit,” he said last week. “‘Cause I was very happy to continue to go along the way I was.”
Still, Trump allies have suggested that the RNC is going to take advantage of the real estate mogul. “I don’t think the RNC is 100 percent committed,” a GOP donor told CNN. “If Donald Trump’s seven points down in October, they’re going to put that money toward Senate races and House races.”
Manafort seemed confident at the lunch with GOP staff, however. “He said that he thought Hillary Clinton was the ideal opponent — that he was the ultimate outsider and she was the ultimate insider,” a Senate GOP chief-of-staff in attendance said.
These reports seem to confirm several things about the Trump campaign that, until now, had only been the subject of rumor and speculation. For one thing, unlike the primary campaign which Trump claims, rather deceptively, to have self-funded, it’s been clear from the time that Trump became the presumptive nominee that he would seek to raise money from the same donors that he spent most of the primary season attacking. It also tends to support the idea, long suspected by many of Trump’s critics as well as seasoned campaign observers, that Trump does not have access to sufficient liquid assets to self-fund a General Election campaign, something he’s probably known all along. Even the largely disputed financial report that Trump filed at the start of the campaign tends to support this idea since it shows that the vast majority of his estimated $10 billion in wealth consists of real estate holdings and the alleged $3 billion value of his “personal brand,” which he has taken advantage of in the past by selling it for use in everything from real estate projects that he has no interest in or control over to bedding, clothes, steaks, and Trump branded bottled water that only seems to be available for sale at properties bearing Donald Trump’s name. None of these assets are easily convertible to cash and many of them, such as the real estate holdings, are likely also subject to bank liens and other interests that mean that Trump would likely walk away with less than the estimated value of any building he might try to sell. In any case, Trump has not taken any steps to even try to liquidate assets to fund a General Election campaign, something which suggests that his promise to “self-fund” his campaign was pure bluster from the beginning.
Reports like this also tend to support reports like the one last week that many Republican megadonors are still reluctant to get behind the Trump campaign, with many of the biggest names from past election cycles either still sitting on the sidelines or making the choice to use their money and contacts to aid Republicans in down ballot elections who were facing difficult elections well before it was confirmed that Donald Trump would be at the top of the ticket. That may change as time goes on, but if it continues then Trump is going to find it problematic to run a top level Presidential campaign, especially given the fact that he’ll be up against a Democratic opponent who stands to be able to raise and spend as much as a total of $1 billion between now and Election Day.
Finally, some Republican insiders are suggesting that these claims of poverty are part of Trump laying the groundwork for how he might handle a loss in November:
The preemptive fretting about how the RNC plans to spend its money this fall makes some Republicans think that Trump, who has repeatedly insulted Mitt Romney for failing to defeat President Obama in the 2012 presidential election, is preparing to protect his reputation if Hillary Clinton wins.
“He’s going to blame it on the RNC if he doesn’t win in November,” the first source said. “They’re laying that groundwork now.”
I’ve wondered what Donald Trump might do if, as most observers believe, he ends up losing in November. One option, of course, is that he could just walk away, return to his businesses and his like of ostentatious absurdity, and leave the world of politics behind. After all, Trump has failed before — at running an airline, at the casino business in Atlantic City, at running an airline — and managed to walk away relatively unscathed. If he wanted to stay involved in politics, though, and continue to cause mischief for his enemies in the GOP, there would be no better way of doing it than going to war against the RNC after what would be a disappointing loss across the board. It would be a way for him to maintain influence over a movement inside the GOP that is unlikely to go away regardless of what happens in November, and it would be an excuse for him to continue opining on politics from the comfort of his Twitter feed, all at very little cost to him.