Trump raised $135 million at 29 fundraisers as president

President Donald has headlined 29 fundraisers since he was sworn into office, raising at least $135 million — but unlike the five previous presidents, nearly half of the events benefited himself, instead of just his party or candidates, according to an analysis by McClatchy.

Trump is the first U.S. president since at least the 1970s to raise money for his own re-election campaign during the first two years of his term when the political world’s attention is usually focused on midterm elections for Congress. And Trump has held the fewest total fundraisers at this point in his term since Jimmy Carter, according to records of presidential fundraising compiled by Brendan J. Doherty, a political science professor at the U.S. Naval Academy.

That’s a sign he’s more focused on himself and less tied to his party 18 months into presidency.

“While he has helped his re-election campaign and the to raise record sums of money, his fundraising for other parts of his party has fallen short of his predecessors’ efforts, which could be due to President Trump’s lack of long-standing ties to the Republican Party,” Doherty said.

Thirteen of the 29 fundraisers Trump has headlined through the end of July benefited the Trump Victory Fund or the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, joint fundraising committees that can collect six-figure checks and split the cash between Trump’s campaign as well as the Republican National Committee and state Republican parties.

But invitations from several fundraisers, obtained by McClatchy, show that the Trump campaign is taking the first cut of the donations. The first $2,700 collected — the maximum allowed by an individual — is designated for Trump’s primary race, if there is one, and the second $2,700 is earmarked for Trump’s general election.

The fundraisers have helped Trump’s 2020 campaign amass a sizable war chest. It has already raised more than $50 million for his re-election this cycle, more than half of which has come from those two joint fundraising committees, according to the campaign’s most recent fundraising report, which provides information through the end of June.

Trump filed for re-election Jan. 20, 2017, the day he was sworn in as president — earlier than any incumbent presidential candidate in decades. He began raising money immediately and held his first fundraiser for himself less than six months into office at the his hotel in Washington, where he raised an estimated $10 million behind closed doors.

Democrat Barack Obama, sworn into office in January 2009, didn’t file for re-election until April 4, 2011, according to the Federal Elections Commission. Republican George W. Bush, who was sworn in January 2001, announced his re-election bid on May 15, 2003, according to the FEC. Neither Obama nor Bush held fundraisers or collected any money for their campaigns until after they announced for re-election in their third year.

A former Democratic fundraiser involved in 2010 fundraising strategy said Obama was more focused in his first two years on policy and the midterms than his own re-election.

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