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Trump Continues To Trail Well Behind Clinton In Fundraising

Donald Trump and his joint fundraising committees raised $90 million last month.
Mark Makela
Getty Images
Donald Trump and his joint fundraising committees raised $90 million last month.

Donald Trump raised $90 million in August, the campaign said Thursday.

That's a "record" haul for the Trump campaign and its joint fundraising committees, the campaign bragged in a Thursday statement, but it's no match for Hillary Clinton, who raised $143 million in August, as her campaign reported last week.

Clinton also started 2016 with far more money in the bank than her Republican rival. She and affiliated committees had $152 million, compared with Trump's $97 million, as the campaign told the Wall Street Journal this week.

Since the statement, the campaign has released a few details on what that $90 million looked like. Trump contributed $2 million to the campaign, CNN reported, and the Washington Post added that $70 million came from small donations.

The Clinton and Trump totals don't just reflect campaign fundraising; they also include money raised by each candidate's joint fundraising committees. These committees can accept unlimited donations, which are then split up between different groups.

Clinton's Victory Fund raises money for the Democratic National Committee, the Clinton campaign, and Democratic committees from 32 states and Puerto Rico, as Peter Overby reported earlier this year. The Trump Victory Fund shares with the Republican National Committee and 11 state party committees, as the Post's Matea Gold reported earlier this year.

While the Trump campaign touted the size of its haul, it also tried to make the case that Trump doesn't need the money that Clinton does. Clinton has spent $132 million on ads, NBC News reported this week, more than four times Trump's nearly $29 million. And yet, as Trump campaign finance chairman Steve Mnuchin stressed, the two candidates are virtually tied in some recent polls.

The Trump campaign has also been blasting Clinton for her fundraisers — Trump's son Eric this week criticized her for raising money while his father was in Mexico. However, Clinton's strategy seems to be to let Trump get the free media he wants while she sits back — a "rope-a-dope" strategy, as NPR's Ron Elving put it recently. And while she is finally getting more face time in front of the press — bringing reporters on her plane and doing a Thursday press conference — she also has plenty of money to buy more controlled visibility, in the form of attack ad after attack ad.

Update: This post was updated on Sept. 8 at 3:57 p.m. with additional information about Trump's fundraising.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Danielle Kurtzleben is a political correspondent assigned to NPR's Washington Desk. She appears on NPR shows, writes for the web, and is a regular on The NPR Politics Podcast. She is covering the 2020 presidential election, with particular focuses on on economic policy and gender politics.