I lost the battle. The Supreme Court and the Electoral College spoke. Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, so skilled at rewriting rules for political advantage, conceded that Donald Trump He will not be the next president.
But money flowing into Trump’s political coffers indicates that defeat will not push the soon-to-be president into the political shadow.
Trump has been in a fundraising campaign since the election, quickly making $ 200 million or more on his false claims that the vote was rigged.
His campaign bombed his supporters with emails and text messages – up to 30 a day – asking for donations to a combat fund to challenge the outcome. But with the elections settled, this was not where the money was going.
Most of the money goes to Save America, an organization that was formed as a Political Leadership Action Committee (PAC) shortly after the election. The Leadership Pacs are designed to allow individuals to raise money to support a preferred candidate, and Trump cannot legally use the proceeds to fund his running for office, like another bid for the presidency in four years.
But Brendan Fischer, a campaign finance specialist at the Campaign Legal Center, said the fund-raising from Trump was unprecedented and evidence of uncompromised political ambition.
“I can’t think of any other president who created a leadership PAC immediately after losing the election and started fundraising for it fiercely. This is totally unique.”
I think it will basically be a vehicle for Trump’s political process after the White House.
Trump raised the money in a flurry of calls for donations to what he described as an “official election defense fund” without explicit mention of Save America. A strong sales show was built around the president’s false allegations that the election was rigged – even as one legal objection after another overturned.
One email said, “We need your help to defend the integrity of our elections.”
Another email carried the subject line: “The recount results were bogus.”
Money poured in, but most of it would not come close to a fight as a result of an already settled election. Some were used to pay off Trump’s campaign debt, and 25 cents of every dollar goes directly to the Republican Party. The rest is paid to save America.
“We were expecting there to be over $ 100 million in Pac’s leadership account by this point,” Fisher said. “This is exceptional. That’s a lot of money, much more than any other Buck leadership I could think of raising.”
Fischer said this is an indication that Trump is not planning to quietly retreat from the political stage to write his memoirs.
He said: “The formation of his leadership Buck is definitely an indication that Trump plans to remain very active in politics, and aims to remain a major political player.”
“Since the leadership Pacs is loosely organized, he can use the money not only to keep his campaign employees on the payroll, but also for potential financial benefit. He can use Leadership Buck to pay himself and pay family members. There is a lot of things you can do with this.”
Jennifer Victor, an assistant professor of political science at George Mason University, said the smart move would be for Trump to use the money to fund the election of political loyalists to keep Trump alive.
Is he smart enough as a political operator to use this money to build a fundamentally broad coalition in which he is the center and distributor of funds that could enhance his political position? It is difficult to say because his political movement so far is self-centered.
“He must have an interest in building a Republican party around Trumpism, which has happened somewhat quite naturally over the past years. But to make this advantage permanent for the Republican Party, he will then have to use the political capital built around his name to benefit the party, which It means awarding it to other candidates. “
Victor said this created a headache for the Republican leadership if it was hoping to bypass Trump.
Not only would he be a former president and candidate, but he would also be a candidate with the second highest total votes of any American candidate, after Joe Biden. So he has this massive follower base. At the same time, he always defied democratic norms and Republican party standards.
Then there is Trump’s stated desire to run for president again in four years.
“Save America cannot be used to support the Trump campaign, but there are a number of methods it can use to lay the groundwork to run for office in 2024,” Fisher said.
Perhaps most beneficial is funding the Trump campaign to support another candidate. You can pay for rallies to support another candidate. It can be used to pay for ads that are displayed ostensibly independently of the candidate who supports them.
This could include funding for one of his sons to run for the presidency. There is already speculation about the possibility of Ivanka Trump Run for the US Senate In Florida.
All of this preserves the president’s political image and influence in the Republican Party, especially as he has proven his ingenuity in transforming others’ campaign events into actual Trump rallies.
What Trump cannot use the donations for is to solve legal and financial problems that he faces when he leaves the White House that may get in the way of future political ambitions.
Manhattan County Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. is leading a criminal investigation into Trump’s business dealings. New York State Attorney Letitia James is leading a civil investigation after former attorney for President Michael Cohen told Congress of Trump to inflate the value of his assets to secure bank loans and then cut them to cut taxes.
The investigation was recently expanded to examine the consulting fees that may have gone to Daughter of President Ivanka . She responded to the news of the investigation by calling him Politically motivated harassment.
Trump loses his protection from criminal prosecution when he leaves office. While he claims to have the power to pardon himself before leaving the White House, any such move would only apply to federal crimes, not charges brought by New York or any other country.
The president also faces huge debt payments. Trump personally guaranteed about $ 420 million in debt owed on his business that would have to be repaid in the coming years, according to The New York Times.
The bulk of this debt is with Deutsche Bank. Last month Reuters You mentioned the bank was trying to cut ties with the president.
The Trump Organization, the president’s umbrella group that currently oversees his two sons, owes nearly $ 340 million to Deutsche Bank. The loans, which are against Trump’s real estate, begin to be paid within two years.