Trump faces warning signs that his fundraising prowess may have limits in 2024 campaign

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks Tuesday during a Fox News Channel town hall in Greenville, S.C. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump’s legendary ability to raise massive sums of political cash may be on a collision course with a new and unpleasant reality.

Campaign finance reports released this week flashed bright warning lights, showing two key committees in his political operation raised an anemic $13.8 million in January while collectively spending more than they took in. A major driver of those costs was millions of dollars in legal fees from Trump’s myriad of court cases.


The latest numbers offer only a partial snapshot of the Trump operation’s finances because other branches won’t have to disclose their numbers until April. But Trump’s diminished cashflow presents an alarming picture of the overwhelming favorite to be the GOP’s presidential nominee, particularly to would-be donors who aren’t eager to subsidize Trump’s legal challenges.

Despite threats of vengeance by Trump, some are instead backing his last standing rival, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who outraised Trump’s primary campaign committee by nearly $3 million last month.

In a statement, Trump spokeswoman Karoline Leavitt did not directly address the campaign’s finances.

“President Trump’s campaign is fueled by small dollar donors across the country from every background who are sick and tired of Crooked Joe Biden’s record-high inflation, wide open border invasion, crime and chaos,” Leavitt said. “Voters don’t want four more years of misery and destruction.”

When asked specifically about the numbers, a Trump spokesman texted a link to a Fox News story published Tuesday, stating that Trump was expected to raise $6 million at a fundraiser held that day.

Legal fees dominated Trump’s January expenditures, amounting to $3.7 million of the roughly $15 million spent by the two committees. One of the committees, Save America, held nearly $2 million in unpaid legal debts, the records show.

Save America was also bolstered with a cash infusion from a pro-Trump super PAC, which accounted for almost all of the money it raised in January.

The committee received another $5 million “refund” installment from the super PAC “Make America Great Again Inc.,” which was initially seeded through a $60 million from Save America in the fall of 2022. Instead, Trump campaign officials opted to claw that money back in installments, a running total that has now reached $47 million, records show.

That left Trump’s two committees with $36.6 million in cash on hand compared to Biden’s $132 million stockpile, which he and the Democratic National Committee raised $42 million for in January.

“His endless drama and legal bills will deplete the Republican Party and bring even more electoral losses,” Haley’s communications director, Nachama Soloveichik, said in a statement.

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