President Donald Trump has raised between $150 million and $170 million since Election Day amid ongoing appeals to supporters as part of his effort to undercut results of the race that saw him lose by millions of votes to President-elect Joe Biden, according to several media reports.
Both The Washington Post and The New York Times reported details of the massive haul, much of which was raised through small-dollar donations from the president’s ardent base in the week after the election.
But those appeals are based on misleading emails and text messages, and the Trump campaign has been using shady legal language buried in the solicitations that effectively gives the president broad power to use the money for a variety of purposes beyond fighting the outcome of the election. The fine print behind the fundraising says the first 75% of any donation goes to the Save America leadership political action committee, which Trump set up in mid-November, and the remaining 25% goes to the Republican Party’s operating expenses.
Any donor would have to give more than $5,000 before their money would go to the recount effort.
Trump and his surrogates have continued to spout lies about the election, pointing to discredited conspiracy theories about voting machines and fraud behind mail-in ballots. There has been no evidence to back up those claims, and every legal effort the president has backed to overturn election results in six battleground states has failed.
All six battleground states have now certified their votes declaring Biden the winner. The president-elect is set to be inaugurated on Jan. 20, and Trump will have to leave the White House (his administration signed off on the official transition last week after resisting doing so for days).
The figures, shared by an anonymous source close to the Trump campaign, are mammoth and unprecedented. They near sums raised at the height of the presidential race and would almost guarantee that Trump will exit the White House with all of his campaign debt paid off and a sizable chunk in the bank for any political activity after his presidency.
The Post noted there are few limitations on how the money can be spent and that it could easily flow to Trump’s own properties through event fees or pay for his travel or personal expenses.