President Donald Trump said in front of a crowd of supporters in October that if he really wanted to overcome Joe Biden's primacy in fundraising, he could call the heads of any big company and they would come to his aid.
"All I have to do is call the head of every Wall Street company, the head of every big company, and the head of every big energy company:" Do me a favor, send me $ 10 million for my campaign. " # 39; Yes sir, "Trump told a crowd of supporters in Arizona in October.
However, new Federal Election Commission records tracking fundraising from October 15 through November 23 show that many wealthy GOP financiers largely failed to help Trump in the final weeks of the bruise battle with Biden than he did in the polls or parachuted millions for his current legal battle.
This is the latest sign that many leaders might be ready to work with President-elect Biden. In the case of the dispute, some of the leading party donors had previously exhausted the campaign and the Republican National Committee, leaving Trump's political team unable to reach out to them for financial assistance.
The Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee, its two joint fundraising committees, and the presidential leadership committee, Save America, have raised over $ 200 million since election day. Save America will likely be used to fund policy initiatives Trump plans after leaving the White House, including the possible re-running for president in 2024.
While Trump's anti-fraud doesn't seem to bother many business leaders, it does seem to resonate with small dollar donors who may believe their money is being used specifically for anti-fraud purposes and likely have donated much of the money raised during that period.
Steve Schwarzman, the CEO of private equity giant Blackstone and longtime Trump confidante, has not contributed to any pro-Trump group in recent weeks, according to election documents. Instead, he donated $ 15 million to the Senate Leadership Fund, a super-PAC in line with Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, in November.
As reported by CNBC, Schwarzman was one of the many executives on Wall Street who stopped helping Trump in the final leg of the election. Schwarzman said in late November that having supported the president for the past four years, he was now ready to "help President-elect Biden and his team address the significant challenges of rebuilding our post-Covid economy."
Since Election Day on November 3, the Trump campaign has launched dozens of lawsuits in what are believed to be victorious states in Biden, including Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia. Trump and his allies have essentially lost or withdrawn all lawsuits related to the election and have not voided any votes for Biden.
Attorney General William Barr said this week that the Justice Department had found no evidence of widespread electoral fraud, let alone fraud that would undo Biden's planned victory. The campaign spent millions on legal fees associated with the "recount", including $ 600,000 for the Kasowitz Benson Torres law firm. The firm was founded by long-time Trump attorney Marc Kasowitz.
The Trump campaign called for a partial recount in Wisconsin, which was paid for $ 3 million.
But Reuters reported last month that large chunks of the posts were actually not going towards efforts to reverse the election results, but towards Save America or the Republican National Committee. The fine print on the Trump Election Defense Fund donation page says that "75% of every contribution goes to Save America first, up to $ 5,000," suggesting that much of the contributions to the case are actually going to the Trump for other purposes. Committee goes.
"We enjoy unprecedented financial backing from an ever-growing group of investors, large and small, as President Trump and Republicans continue to battle over the issues that matter to the majority of Americans, including ensuring the integrity of our elections and defending the Republican Majority in the Senate, "RNC deputy communications director Cassie Smedile said in a statement.
Trump campaign officials have not returned requests for comment.
Trump donor Dan Eberhart told CNBC that many Republican business leaders are not interested in investing in a candidate who hasn't had public polls in the final weeks of the election or his next political moves. By election day, Biden had gained seven points according to a national survey average by Real Clear Politics.
"Only the crazy still believe," Eberhart told CNBC when he spoke about who is still giving Trump something. "That's base, true believers," he added.
A former high-ranking campaign official told CNBC, on condition of anonymity, that large donors who had not yet campaigned backed off until the end of the election campaign because the president did not attend certain personal events because of the coronavirus pandemic, and some executives wouldn't attend if he wasn't there. This person declined to be named in order to speak freely.
Some GOP mega-donors had spent a lot of money early in the election cycle on Trump's joint fundraising committees, which allow donors to write six-digit checks or Pro-Trump Super PACs that accept unlimited amounts of money from contributors. Recently, many have chosen to spend millions on the struggles that are being waged in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Of the largest Republican big donors who donated over $ 500 million to Trump and other GOP campaigns combined during the 2020 election cycle, only a handful of companies backed the Commander in Chief during the six-week period from mid-October to late November.
Among the few Republican megadonors who have spent a lot of money on the president in the final weeks of the election are casino magnates Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, who together donated $ 15 million to the pro-Trump PAC Preserve America. Bernard Marcus, co-founder of Home Depot, donated $ 5 million to the same PAC. That PAC is not currently involved in the president's legal battle and records show that these large donations were received in the last two weeks of October.
The new records show that Miriam Adelson recently gave the RNC $ 106,500, as did Marcus. The Adelsons ended the 2020 election cycle and donated at least $ 200 million to Republican efforts.
Richard and Elizabeth Uihlein, the founders of the shipping company Uline and longtime Trump supporters, also practically disappeared in the financial support of the president and have recorded only minimal contributions since mid-October. The couple, who recently tested positive for the coronavirus, had previously spent over $ 65 million on GOP-related causes this cycle.
Timothy Mellon, Chairman of Pan Am Systems, donated $ 5 million to the Senate Leadership Fund in November. Pro-Trump groups saw very little of him over the same period after donating millions to the President's cause at the beginning of the election campaign.
In September, Ike Perlmutter, chairman of Marvel Entertainment and a renowned external advisor to Trump in the Department of Veterans Affairs, and his wife gave $ 21 million to America First Action. As of mid-October, there has been no record of Perlmutters spending on Trump in the final stages of the campaign.
Even some of Trump's friends who have supported him in the past appear to be distancing themselves from the president's future efforts. Ronald Lauder, the heir to the Estee Lauder Companies and a friend of Trump, donated $ 3.5 million to the Senate Leadership Fund in October. Recent records show that he has not given anything to the president since the late election phases.
CNBC reported in August that Lauder no longer supports Trump.