‘Really Rich’ Trump Could Pocket Donations, Campaign Says
Donald Trump has spent much of his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination reminding American voters, and the world how ‘great‘ he is. He has boasted about having the ‘best words‘ and his, ahem, manhood. He especially wants voters to know that he is rich, “really rich“. so rich in fact, that he doesn’t need anyone else’s donations run for president.
“I’m using my own money. I’m not using the lobbyists. I’m not using donors. I don’t care… I’m really rich.”
Trump announced that he would “self-fund” his entire primary campaign to ensure that, unlike other candidates, he would not be beholden to private interests. But now that he is the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party it has been widely reported that he won’t be applying the same principle to his general election campaign. As The National Memo reports, this new development has important implications for The Donald’s storied bank account.
During the presidential primary Trump loaned his campaign $35.9 million, and the operative word here is ‘loaned’. While the amount constitutes around seventy-five percent of his total campaign funds, according to the Trump campaign’s Federal Election Commission (FEC) filing the candidate has actually only contributed just over $317, 000. As other wealthy candidates such as Mitt Romney have done, Trump could convert the loans into contributions, but this is Donald Trump we’re talking about here. And if he doesn’t, he could raise funds from the sources he previously decried (lobbyists, big banks, the super rich who are really “really rich” such as the Koch Brothers, and others) as well as small dollar donations from the suckers that support him, and use that money to pay himself back.
Campaign Denies Loan Claim, But Can Trump Be Trusted With Donations?
Even before Trump became the presumptive nominee, a source within the campaign told CNN that there would be a shift in the general election,
Trump and his aides have acknowledged that the Republican Party will need to be well-funded for the general election, and that Trump will work with the party to ensure that’s the case.
Their message is “basically we’re going to be a traditional party candidate,” as far as fundraising is concerned, the source said.
Got that? “Basically we’re going to be a traditional party” (and by “party” they mean the Republican party) “candidate”. Which is to say, a sell out utterly beholden to the rich, to Wall Street, to the “too big to fail” banks, and to the big, multinational corporations – including the military-industrial complex. A puppet, just like the “traditional party candidate” predecessors to get the Republican party’s nomination, like “corporations are people too, my friend” Mitt Romney, and “bomb-bomb-bomb… bomb-bomb Iran” John McCain, and ‘let’s start a war with the wrong country and then give no-bid contracts to Halliburton’ George W. Bush.
In response to the reporting on this decision and the implications for the loans he has already made to his campaign, Trump released a statement denying any such intention:
Here is Donald Trump's entire statement to me about turning $50 million of loans into a campaign contribution: pic.twitter.com/QSCF9LJqlV
— Ari Melber MSNBC (@AriMelber) May 13, 2016
While the loans currently remain loans the Trump campaign told MSNBC that they plan to convert them, “in the near future.“ Like, for instance, the second Tuesday of next week. Because really, why talk about how you’re going to convert them someday? Today is some day, why not convert then now? Why would Trump say he’s going to convert them, when he could have said he has converted them? Maybe the reason is he’s just hoping people will forget and move on.
As the National Memo points out, Trump’s own words and actions undercut his credibility on this issue. Firstly the statement that Trump released denying any intention to recoup the money he has loaned his campaign indicates that he that the figure is around $50 million while FEC filings show it to be closer to $36 million. Perhaps for Trump $14 million is so inconsequential that it was easy to misstate the figure, but it is a pretty significant difference for the many voters who aren’t “really rich”. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, Trump has not entirely self-financed his campaign.
[contentblock id=7 img=gcb.png]
While Trump has provided the majority of the funds raised by his campaign he has also accepted donations from supporters and SuperPACs. Trump did request that the Make America Great Again SuperPAC shut down, but only after possible links with his campaign emerged. After all, Candidates are not permitted to coordinate with SuperPACs. And Trump didn’t want to get caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
Donald Trump already broke one vital campaign promise when he decided that he would accept “traditional fundraising” in the general election. Now he insists that voters should trust that he won’t use any of that money to pay himself back. And, of course, there’s the question of whatever happened to those donations for military veterans which Trump raised while hiding from a debate? Not to mention the fact that Trump isn’t really as “really rich” as he claims, having frequently overstated his wealth (which he’s currently hiding his tax returns over) and he probably needs that money back. Even without his questionable past before becoming a candidate, Trump’s half-truths and reversed positions on this issue should make supporters who lauded his integrity for rejecting private interest dollars very suspicious of his current claims.
Features image by Tom Pennington/Getty Images.