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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Trump fundraiser rakes in more than $50.5 million, campaign says

Former President Donald J. Trump and his wife, Melania, in Palm Beach, Fla., on Saturday.

By Michael Gold

For several hours Saturday evening, drivers on a typically scenic stretch of Palm Beach, Florida, had their views of the coast obscured by a line of luxury vehicles whose owners were mingling inside a mansion across the road.

The shoreline-blocking Range Rovers, Aston Martins and Bentleys hinted at the deep-pocketed donors attending a fundraising dinner for former President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, which it and the Republican National Committee said had raised more than $50.5 million.

The event, hosted by billionaire John Paulson at his home, followed a concerted push by the Trump campaign to address a long-standing financial disparity with President Joe Biden and Democrats as both parties gear up for the general election.

The reported total, which cannot be independently verified ahead of campaign finance filings in the coming months, is nearly double the $26 million that Biden’s campaign said it raised last month at a celebrity-studded event at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita, senior advisers to the former president who are effectively his campaign managers, said in a statement that the total made it “clearer than ever that we have the message, the operation and the money to propel President Trump to victory on November 5.”

Trump’s event, just down the road from his home at Mar-a-Lago, was in some ways a less flashy affair than its Democratic antecedent, one that traded Hollywood star power and New York City energy for a warmer clime, an abundance of palm trees and the manicured lawns typical of an island refuge for the moneyed elite.

But expectations before the dinner were high, with Paulson and Trump campaign advisers vowing to outdo the Biden event. An invitation obtained by The New York Times suggested a contribution of $814,600 or the comparatively more modest $250,000.

The money raised, according to the invitation, will be directed to the Trump 47 Committee, a shared fundraising agreement among the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee and roughly 40 state parties. Such joint accounts can take in checks of as much as $814,600.

Trump, who has long had a penchant for superlatives, had predicted on his social media site, Truth Social, that the dinner would be the “biggest night in Fund Raising of ALL TIME!!!”

The former president arrived shortly before 7 p.m. with his wife, Melania Trump, who has made sparse appearances at political events during her husband’s third presidential campaign. “This has been some incredible evening before it even starts,” Trump said before posing for a photo with Paulson and entering the house.

Around 100 people were expected to attend the dinner, with a number of billionaires on the guest list.

Among the event’s co-chairs were familiar megadonors and Trump allies, including Rebekah Mercer, a major donor to Trump in 2016; Linda McMahon, a former Trump Cabinet official; and Robert Bigelow, who backed Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida in the Republican primary but in February donated $5 million to Trump’s super political action committee.

Not all of those who wrote checks opted to attend. John Catsimatidis, a New York grocery store chain owner with a long history with Trump, was a co-chair of the event but said other commitments kept him from being present.

Under the shared fundraising agreement, the first $6,600 of any contribution will go to Trump’s campaign. The next $5,000 will go to his Save America PAC, the political account he has used to pay his legal bills. (That amount is the maximum contribution allowed to Save America under federal rules.) The RNC will get the next $413,000, and then will come dozens of state parties.

Trump and his team have effectively taken over the RNC, installing new leadership, pushing through layoffs and restructuring the national party’s operations to align it more closely with the campaign.

Fundraising has been a major focus of the overhaul, particularly as Biden and Democrats have banked cash and built a significant financial advantage over the last several months.

The Biden campaign said earlier Saturday that it, the Democratic Party and affiliated committees had raised more than $90 million in March, and that together they had $192 million on hand going into April. The Trump campaign said it and the Republican National Committee had raised $65.6 million in March, the former president’s best fundraising month so far, and that they, along with their shared accounts, had $93.1 million on hand.

Biden’s campaign manager, Julie Chavez Rodriguez, said in a statement that the Democratic fundraising numbers stood in “stark contrast to Trump’s cash-strapped operation.”

Biden’s totals were helped in part by the glamorous event in front of 5,000 donors at the storied Radio City Music Hall. Biden and two of his Democratic predecessors, former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, were interviewed by late-night host and comedian Stephen Colbert.

A number of musical guests, including Queen Latifah, Lizzo and Lea Michele, entertained the crowd.

The special guests billed on the invitation for the Trump fundraiser were three of his former primary rivals who have since become campaign surrogates and joined him on the trail: Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota and Vivek Ramaswamy, a tech entrepreneur.

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1 Comment

Oscar Melendez
Oscar Melendez
Apr 08

#Trump2024 #impeachJoeBiden

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