With less than two weeks to go until Election Day, there are indications that the Trump campaign is closing up shop early. Two new reports indicate that Trump may be leaving other Republicans to hold the bag as he prepares to go back to his day job.
The Washington Post reported that Trump has stopped holding fundraisers for Trump Victory, the joint fundraising committee between the Republican Party and the Trump campaign. Steven Mnuchin, the Trump campaign’s finance chairman, said that the last formal fundraiser was held on October 19, the day of the last presidential debate, and that no more events were scheduled. In contrast, the Clinton campaign had 41 events scheduled between publication of the article on October 25 and Election Day.
“We’ve kind of wound down,” Mnuchin said, two full weeks before the election. “But the online fundraising continues to be strong.”
The Post reported that Trump Victory raised more than $40 million through the end of September. The funds were used to pay field staffers who are working to get out the Republican vote. Lew Eisenburg, chairman of Trump Victory, said “when the opportunity presents itself, we will have ad hoc fundraisers” with Trump and vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence.
Mnuchin said that Trump’s focus would be on campaign events rather than fundraising. “We have minimized his fundraising schedule over the last month to emphasize his focus on political [events]. Unlike Hillary, who has been fundraising and not out and about, he has constantly been out and about.”
“We couldn’t be more pleased with how the fundraising has gone,” Mnuchin continued. “We have big media buys, we have a terrific ground game.”
Mnuchin is correct on media buys, if not the ground game. For the first time in the campaign, Trump is outspending Clinton on campaign ads. Bloomberg reports that for the week of October 18, Trump spent $14.4 million to Clinton’s $13.9 million. Over the course of the campaign, Clinton has outspent Trump by about three to one.
The downside to Trump’s decision to end fundraising events may be the effect on down ballot races. With the probability of a Hillary presidency looming, maintaining a Republican Congress is the key to stopping Hillary’s liberal agenda. Without Trump Victory as a source of funds, many vulnerable Republican incumbents in close races may be ousted by Democrats.
If he isn’t fundraising, what is Trump doing with his time? With the countdown to the election marked in days and Trump trailing in the swing states, Politico reports that he’s getting back to the business of building his brand. On Monday, Trump kicked off a nightly internet newscast that many feel may be a precursor to a Trump network. On Tuesday, Trump held a press event at the Trump National Doral Miami where he bragged that his property was “one of the great places on earth.” On Wednesday, he took time out from the campaign to attend a ribbon-cutting at the new Trump hotel located in the Old Post Office in Washington, D.C.
“Politics is a side hobby for Trump, kind of like fishing or model railroading. Hotels, that’s serious business, and I hear the hotel is fabulous,” Curt Anderson, a top Republican strategist, told Politico. “Which of his aides would like to take credit for scheduling this trip to D.C.? Is no one able to stand up to this guy? No one at all?”