The latest Trump campaign fundraising numbers ought to clear up any question about why President Donald Trump continues to push the election fraud lie to the bitter, illogical end: He’s raking in hundreds of millions of dollars from it. The campaign announced ahead of its federal filing that it had raised $207.5 million to be exact since Election Day on the back of 498 fundraising pitches to donors since Nov. 3, setting a monthly record for solicitations from the campaign. The fundraising windfall even after losing the election has been generated by Trump’s frothing-at-the-mouth claims of election fraud, which he has used to solicit hundreds of millions from low-dollar donors for his “official election defense fund.”
The campaign has been spraying its supporters and donors with more than a dozen all-caps, end-of-days solicitations each day. “We MUST defend the Election from the Left!” a Trump fundraising text this week read. “I’ve activated a 1000% offer for 1 HOUR to put America FIRST. Step up & act NOW.” “We cannot afford a Joe Biden presidency. We must FIGHT for the future the American People TRULY support: FOUR MORE YEARS OF PRESIDENT TRUMP,” another campaign email read. “Will you allow the CORRUPT Democrats to try to STEAL this Election and impart their RADICAL agenda on our Country? Or will you step UP and DEFEND your Country?”
The fine print of Trump’s fundraising, unsurprisingly, reveals the money donated isn’t really going to defend anything other than Trump’s position in the party. Days after media outlets called the election for President-elect Joe Biden, Trump set up a leadership PAC called Save America PAC. “Current fundraising appeals from Trump solicit money for a joint fundraising committee, the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, which is directing 75 percent of each contribution to Save America, up to a $5,000 legal limit,” according to Politico. “Only after that point does money start flowing into a recount account set up by Trump’s presidential campaign. (The remaining 25 percent of donations go to various accounts for the Republican National Committee.)”
By sacrificing trust in American democracy to fill up his political coffers on the way out the door, Trump is positioning himself to keep the Trump Show rolling. The money can be used to fund some of Trump’s favorite things: political rallies, ads, influence peddling, and other monuments to himself. Trump could also use the money to fund other candidates, though that doesn’t seem like his style, which would help Trump stay right where he is, at the party’s nerve center even after his term ends. It’s a power play; it’s cynical, deceptive, and destructive; it’s quintessential Trump.