No matter that the 2020 presidential election is more than 27 months away. President Donald Trump is steadily building a re-election campaign war chest at a pace unprecedented in U.S. political history.
Trump’s campaign ended June with more than $33 million cash on hand — almost three times the size of its reserve from June 2017, according to a new filing with the Federal Election Commission.
Most of this money is readily available to Trump for promoting himself or deterring and combatting political foes, including anyone considering challenging him in a Republican presidential primary.
Prior to Trump, sitting presidents have engaged in little or no fundraising for their own re-election campaigns during the first two years of their terms.
But the Trump campaign’s bottom line has grown ever since Trump technically filed for re-election and began raising money for itself on Jan. 20, 2017 — the day of the president's inauguration. No other U.S. president has ever launched a re-election campaign, technically or ceremonially, so early.
The $8.36 million Trump’s campaign raised from April 1 to June 30 compares with a quarterly low of $6.8 million and quarterly high of $10.2 million since the beginning of 2017, FEC records indicate.
Trump’s campaign spent $3.62 million from April 1 to June 30 — it’s spent as much as $6.37 million and as little as $2.79 million during any quarter since 2017.
"Digital consulting/online advertising" accounted for $1.1 million of the campaign's second quarter expenditures. The Trump campaign spent and more than $152,000 on services — legal, lodging, rent, meals — from various Trump and Trump family properties and entities, including the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., and Trump Tower Commercial LLC.
Federal records covering April 1 through June 30 also show that Trump's campaign spent more than $6,000 on office supplies from Amazon, a company Trump has routinely pilloried. Amazon's founder, Jeff Bezos, is the world's wealthiest man and also owner of another Trump target, the Washington Post.