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Donald Trump 2020 presidential campaign

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Donald Trump 2020 presidential campaign
TrumpPenceKAG.png
Campaign2020 United States presidential election
CandidateDonald Trump
President of the United States
(2017–present)
Mike Pence
Vice President of the United States
(2017–present)
AffiliationRepublican Party
AnnouncedJune 18, 2019[a]
HeadquartersTrump Tower,
Manhattan, New York City, New York (main base)
Key peopleBill Stepien (campaign manager)
Michael Glassner (campaign committee manager)[1]
Tim Murtaugh (communications director)[2]
Kayleigh McEnany (national press secretary)[2]
Lara Trump (senior consultant)[3]
Brad Parscale (senior advisor, digital and data strategies)
Kimberly Guilfoyle (senior adviser)[4]
Katrina Pierson (senior adviser)[5]
Bill Shine (senior adviser)[6]
John McEntee (senior adviser)[7]
Marc Lotter (strategic communications director)[2]
John Pence (campaign committee deputy executive director)[1]
Bradley Crate (campaign treasurer)[8]
Cole Blocker (finance director)[2]
Megan Powers (administrative operations director)[2]
Chris Carr (political director)[2]
Justin Clark (senior political adviser)[2]
ReceiptsUS$358,199,769.41[9] (December 31, 2019)
SloganMAGA.png
Keep America Great![10][11]
Promises made, promises kept[12]
Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!
Keep America Working
Website
www.donaldjtrump.com

The 2020 Donald Trump presidential campaign is an ongoing re-election campaign by President of the United States Donald Trump, who took office on January 20, 2017.

Donald Trump began his reelection campaign unusually early for an incumbent president. He began spending his reelection effort within weeks of his election and officially filed his campaign with the Federal Election Commission on the day of his inauguration. Since February 2017, Trump has held several rallies and fundraisers for this campaign. He has visited key electoral states. The campaign has raised funds and ran two nationwide advertising campaigns. Trump has confirmed in several stump speeches that the slogans for the 2020 race will be "Keep America Great" and "Promises Made, Promises Kept".[13][14][15]

On November 7, 2018, Trump confirmed that Mike Pence would be his vice presidential running mate in 2020.[16] On June 18, 2019, Trump held an official campaign launch event at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.[17][18]

Background

Trump's predecessors merged their campaign committees into their party's committee following their election victories. Following his 2016 election victory, Trump eschewed this presidential tradition and retained a separate campaign committee which continued raising funds. In December 2016, the campaign raised $11 million.[19] These moves indicated that Trump was already eyeing a 2020 run.[20]

Trump started spending money on the 2020 race on November 24, 2016 (sixteen days after the end of the 2016 election). The earliest campaign disbursement that his committees reported was spent towards the 2020 presidential primaries was for the purchase of a Delta Air Lines ticket on this date.[21]

Trump officially filed his reelection campaign with the FEC on January 20, 2017, the day of his inauguration.[22][14][15][23] Trump launched his reelection campaign earlier in his presidency than his predecessors did. Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush and Ronald Reagan all declared their candidacies for reelection in the third year of their presidencies.[24][25] Trump filed the papers for his reelection campaign approximately 47 months prior to the date of the election.[24] In contrast, both Reagan and George H. W. Bush did so approximately twelve, George W. Bush approximately eighteen, and both Clinton and Obama approximately nineteen months before those elections.[24]

While previous presidents had held rallies in the early days of their presidency to garner support for legislation, such rallies differed from Trump's in that they were funded by the White House rather than by campaign committees.[25][26] One of the advantages of having his campaign committee fund the events is that organizers can more discriminately screen attendees, refusing entry to non-supporters.[27] Trump's February 2017 rally in Melbourne, Florida, was the earliest campaign rally for an incumbent president.[28][29]

By filing for his campaign as early as he did, Trump gave himself a head start on fundraising. This can theoretically help discourage primary challengers.[29]

Since his three predecessors (Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama) won reelection, if Trump is reelected, it would be the first time in American history that there have been four consecutive presidents who were elected to two terms.[30][31]

Permanent campaign

Although Trump's early campaign filing is extraordinarily unusual, aspects of a "permanent campaign" are not entirely unprecedented in American politics. Such a phenomenon had a presence in the White House at least as early as the presidency of Bill Clinton. Under the advice of Sidney Blumenthal, Clinton's staff continued to engage in campaign methodology once in office, using polling for assistance in making decisions.[28][32]

Political observers who bolster the opinion that a permanent campaign has had a significant impact on recent presidencies argue that decisions by presidents have increasingly been made with considerations to their impact on voter approval.[33]

The concept of a permanent campaign also describes the focus which recent presidents have given to electoral concerns during their tenures in office, with the distinction between the time they have spent governing and the time they have spent campaigning having become blurred.[33] Political observers consider the rise in presidential fundraising as a symptom of the permanent campaign.[33]

The disproportionately large amounts of time presidents have spent visiting key electoral states (and a comparatively small amount of they have spent visiting states that pose little electoral importance to them) has been pointed to as evidence of ulterior electoral motives influencing presidential governance, emblematic of the blurred lines between campaigning and governance in the White House.[33][32] For instance, George W. Bush embarked on 416 domestic trips during his first three years in office. This was 114 more than his predecessor Bill Clinton made in his first three years.[32] In his first year, 36% of Bush's domestic trips were to the 16 states that were considered swing states after having been decided the closest margins during the 2000 election.[32] In his second year, 45% of his domestic travel was to these states, and his third year 39% of his domestic travel was to these states.[32]

According to the Associated Press, a data analysis firm named Data Propria, launched in May 2018 to provide ad-targeting services and run by former officials of Cambridge Analytica, is working on public relations for the Trump 2020 re-election campaign.[34][35][36]

In April 2020, in an unprecedented move, the Treasury released the coronavirus pandemic relief checks with Trump's name on them.[37]

Polling

Presidential approval ratings, while rising slightly throughout the second half of his first term, have generally shown Trump to be one of the least popular presidents in the history of modern opinion polling during a presidential election year.[38][39][40] In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic in early spring 2020, however, Trump's approval rating saw a small but notable rally in support.[41][42] However, his approval rating has ticked down in the spring and summer of 2020.[43][44][45] Opinion polls conducted in 2020 have generally shown presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden leading Trump nationally in general election matchups, with the former vice president's advantage often extending beyond that of the survey's margin of sampling error.[46][47][48]

A 2017 report from the American Association for Public Opinion Research found that in 2016 national pre-election polls "were generally correct and accurate by historical standards" in estimating Hillary Clinton's popular vote victory. The report states that pre-election polls "indicated that Clinton had about a 3 percentage point lead, and they were basically correct; she ultimately won the popular vote by 2 percentage points." However, the report notes that polls conducted statewide "clearly under-estimated Trump's support in the Upper Midwest."[49]

Political observers point out that presidential job approval is highly partisan, writing: "The 92% approval among Republicans and 42% among independents are close to his highest ratings for those groups. Meanwhile, his approval rating among Democrats, currently 8%, hasn't been above 13% since he took office in February 2017. The current 84-point gap in approval between Republicans and Democrats is just a few points shy of the record polarization Gallup found in late January and early February."[50]

Domestic trips made by Donald Trump as U.S. president

The following maps document the frequency with which President Trump has visited each state and territory during his presidency.

  Washington, D.C.
  7 or more visits
  6 visits
  5 visits
  4 visits
  3 visits
  2 visits
  1 visit
  0 visits

2017 campaign developments

January 2017: Launch

On January 10, 2017, Politico reported that President Trump would be keeping his campaign offices in Trump Tower open in order to lay the groundwork for a re-election campaign.[20] By that time his campaign offices at Trump Tower already included a staff of about ten people led by Republican strategist Michael Glassner.[20][1] Glassner's deputy is John Pence, nephew of Vice President Mike Pence.[1] The campaign staff was focused on data-building and fundraising for a 2020 reelection campaign.[20][51]

On January 18, Trump revealed, in an interview with The Washington Post, that he had decided Keep America Great would be his 2020 reelection campaign slogan.[10][13] Two days later, on the day of his inauguration, Trump filed a form with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) declaring that he qualified as a candidate for the 2020 presidential election.[22][15][23]

February 2017: First rally

Trump speaking at his first campaign rally in Florida

By February 1, 2017, Trump's reelection campaign had already raised over $7 million.[52]

The first rally organized by the campaign was held on February 18, 2017, in Melbourne, Florida,[53] and was attended by an estimated 9,000 supporters.[54] It was the earliest an incumbent president had ever held a reelection campaign rally.[28] During the rally, Trump defended his actions and criticized the media.[28] He referred to a nonexistent incident ("last night in Sweden ...") while criticizing the asylum policies of several European countries.[55] After backlash from the press and the Swedish government,[56][57] Trump said he was referring to a Fox News program aired the previous day.[58][59]

On February 24, Trump spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference,[60] an annual event which has often held a presidential straw poll.[61] However, the CPAC 2017 straw poll did not include a preference survey on presidential candidates.[62]

Trump laying a wreath at the tomb of Andrew Jackson at The Hermitage prior to his Nashville, Tennessee rally
Trump speaking at his rally in Nashville, Tennessee, March 15, 2017
Rally in Louisville, Kentucky, March 20, 2017

March 2017: Second and third rallies

On March 4, there were a series of local rallies held by allies of the campaign in some 50 cities.[63] Several of the rallies were met by counter-demonstrations[64] where some protesters were arrested.[65][66] Other events were held around the country throughout March, some of which resulted in violence.[67]

The campaign's second rally was held a month later in Nashville on March 15, and coincided with the 250th birthday of Andrew Jackson. Prior to the rally, Trump paid tribute to Jackson and laid a wreath at his tomb.[68][69][70][71] During the rally, Trump promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act (also known as "Obamacare") and defended his revised travel ban, which was put on hold by Derrick Watson, a federal judge in Hawaii, hours later.[72]

A third rally was held by the campaign in Louisville on March 20. At the rally, Trump promoted efforts to repeal Obamacare.[73]

On March 29 it was reported that Lara Trump, the daughter-in-law of the president, had been hired as a consultant by the campaign's digital vendor Giles-Parscale.[74]

April 2017: Fourth rally

By mid-April, the Trump campaign had a staff of around twenty employees.[75]

Trump gave a speech on April 28 at an event for the National Rifle Association.[76][77]

Trump and Pence arrive in Pennsylvania on April 29 for their rally in Harrisburg.

Trump held his fourth campaign rally on April 29 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, which coincided with the hundredth day of Trump's presidency.[78][79] It also took place the same night as the White House Correspondents' Dinner, which Trump did not attend.[79][80] In addition to Trump, Vice President Pence also spoke at the April 29 rally.

May 2017: Launch of first advertising campaign

On May 1, the campaign announced that they were spending $1.5 million on national advertisements touting Trump's accomplishments in the first hundred days."[81][82][83] The ad buy, which included advertisements targeted at voters who supported specific agenda items of Trump's presidency,[82] came approximately 42 months before election day 2020,[23][83][84] or any other major party's candidate declarations.[84][85] FactCheck.org found several inaccuracies in the advertisement,[86] and Eric Zorn of the Chicago Tribune described the 30-second advertisement as being, "stuffed with Trump's signature misleading puffery".[85] Additionally, original versions of the ad showed Trump shaking hands with H. R. McMaster, an active-duty military member who was barred from participating in any political advocacy while in uniform.[87] Subsequent airings of the advertisement substituted this clip.[82][87]

The ad claimed that the "fake news" media refused to report the successes of the administration,[82][84][88] but Forbes pointed out that the ad itself cited mainstream media sources including CNBC, The Boston Globe and The New York Times.[88] Because of this accusation against the news media, CNN decided to stop running the ad, a decision that campaign manager Michael Glasner criticized as an action to "censor our free speech".[89][90][91] ABC, CBS and NBC later joined CNN in refusing to play the ad.[92] Lara Trump, a consultant to the campaign and the daughter-in-law of the president, called the ad removals "an unprecedented act of censorship in America that should concern every freedom-loving citizen."[92][93]

On May 8, shortly after reporter Cecilia Vega asked White House press secretary Sean Spicer about statements that Trump's 2016 campaign had issued in regards to temporarily banning Muslims from entering the United States, Trump's campaign website purged itself of all campaign statements from the 2016 campaign.[94][95][96] Campaign chairman Michael Glassner later announced that the website was being redesigned. The redesign of Trump's campaign website was seen by media sources as laying the groundwork for a full-bodied reelection campaign.[97][98][99] The Washington Examiner's David Druckert pointed out on Twitter that the redesigned website featured an image of Trump with a uniformed military officer on its 'Donate' page, which violated the Department of Defense's regulation that prohibits uniformed military officers from engaging in any political activity.[100]

On May 18, Trump hosted chairmen of the Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania state parties at the White House. Each of their states are considered to be presidential swing states.[101] On May 25, Trump's sons Donald Jr. and Eric along with Eric's wife Lara held a series of meetings at the Washington, D.C., offices of the Republican National Committee (RNC) to outline campaign strategy.[102][103][104]

June 2017: Fifth rally, first fundraiser and visits to swing states

Counter-protesters at the Pittsburgh Not Paris Rally

On June 1, President Trump announced his plans to withdraw from the Paris Agreement saying, "I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris." Soon afterwards, the campaign announced it would hold a Pittsburgh Not Paris Rally across from the White House.[105][106] The rally was held June 3 at Lafayette Square.[105][107][108] The event was sponsored by the Fairfax County Republican Committee and the Republican Party of Virginia.[105][106][108][109][110][111] Relatively few people attended the event,[105][109] with estimates varying from 200 people (including counter-protesters)[109][111] to "dozens" of supporters.[109][110] By comparison, more people attended the anti-Trump March for Truth, which was held the same day.[112]

Trump began campaigning in Iowa in June. Iowa was considered to be a perennial swing state[113] and the Iowa caucus is scheduled as the earliest presidential primary election.[114] Iowa has also been home to nonbinding straw polls held ahead of the primaries (Trump won the 2015 straw poll among Republican candidates).[115]

On June 7, Trump delivered what the New York Daily News described as a "campaign-style speech" in Cincinnati, Ohio.[116] Five days later, reports surfaced that Trump was making plans to embark on a more expansive tour that would visit several battleground states.[117]

Trump in Iowa holding his fifth official rally of the campaign

Trump held his fifth official campaign rally in Cedar Rapids in eastern Iowa.[118][119] The area, home to a large population of working class whites, was seen as a strong region for Trump to find a base of political support.[120] The date for the rally, having been changed several times, was ultimately held on June 21,[121] marking the first time in his presidency that Trump traveled west of the Mississippi River.[122] At the rally, Iowa GOP state chairman Jeff Kaufmann verbally attacked Nebraskan senator Ben Sasse, who was speculated by some as a potential challenger to Trump in the 2020 Republican primaries.[123][124][125]

Vice President Mike Pence attended Joni Ernst's 3rd Annual Roast and Ride fundraiser, held on June 3 at the Central Iowa Expo near Boone, Iowa.[118][119][126][127] The previous editions of this event have included presidential campaign appearances. Trump himself had previously attended Ernst's fundraiser in 2016 while campaigning in Iowa, and seven Republican presidential contenders attended the event in 2015.[126]

On June 28, the president hosted a fundraiser at his company's hotel in Washington, D.C., benefitting the Trump Victory Committee, a joint committee that raises funds both for his reelection campaign and for the RNC.[128][129][130][131][132][133] The fundraiser was the first event Trump hosted for the Victory Committee since becoming president,[128] as well as the first presidential campaign fundraiser.[130] The event was co-organized by RNC chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel and RNC National Finance Chairman Steve Wynn.[129][133] The fundraiser was attended by about 300 guests and was reportedly expected to gross $10 million.[134][135][136][137] Trump was joined at the event by First Lady Melania Trump and top White House advisors.[138] Among those reported to have been in attendance at the fundraiser were Mica Mosbacher, Dean Heller and Katrina Pierson.[138][139][140] Additionally, Harold Hamm and a number of high-profile figures were spotted in the hotel's lobby during the event.[137] Press were barred from the event, a break of precedent since reporters were permitted to the first fundraisers held by each of Trump's two predecessors.[141] Trump's decision to host the event at a venue from which he personally profits garnered criticism.[130][134][142][143][144]

Throughout June, the president also gave speeches at events in the swing-states of Florida, Ohio, and Wisconsin.[120]

Lara Trump made appearances on behalf of the campaign at events in New York and Texas during the month of June.[145] In New York, Lara spoke at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel on June 20 for the annual New York Republican State Committee gala.[146]

By the end of June, Trump had visited fewer states in his first six months in office compared to his two immediate predecessors, Barack Obama and George W. Bush.[122] Both Obama and Bush had visited every time zone in the continental United States, while Trump had so far visited only the Eastern and Central time zones.[122] Obama and Bush also took both overnight and multiple-day trips throughout the country while Trump's domestic travels had largely been limited to a two-hour flight radius of Washington, D.C., and his overnight stays were at Camp David, Mar-a-Lago and Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster.[122] One of the benefits Trump was speculated to obtain from such trips is more favorable coverage from local news outlets in the areas visited.[120] Most of Trump's trips to Wisconsin were focused on the Milwaukee area in the southeast part of the state, which Trump won in 2016 by a smaller margin than Mitt Romney had in 2012.[120]

July 2017: Sixth rally

On July 1, Trump delivered a speech at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts during an event honoring veterans. The event was sponsored by First Baptist Dallas and the Salem Media Group. The event was described as resembling one of Trump's campaign rallies.[147]

On July 6, The Hill and Newsweek reported that 2020 campaign merchandise bearing Trump's name (including merchandise supporting and opposing his candidacy) was selling more than those with the names of prospective opponents.[148][149]

First Daughter and Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump introduced Vice President Pence at a GOP fundraiser.[150]

In its July 15 financial disbursement filing, the campaign reported that on June 27, nearly two-weeks before news of the Trump campaign–Russian meeting first surfaced, having made a payment Alan Futerfas, who is now defending the president's son Donald Trump Jr. for his involvement in that meeting.[151][152][153][154]

On July 24, Trump gave a highly political address at the National Scout Jamboree, a traditionally non-political event. This was emblematic of Trump's tendency to treat normally apolitical events as though they are campaign rallies.[155]

Donald and Melania Trump at the campaign's sixth rally

Trump held his sixth campaign rally on July 25 at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown, Ohio.[156][157] During the speech, Trump reveled in addressing an audience outside of the national capital.[157] He also condemned "predators and criminal aliens" and called them "animals". Chicago Tribune writer Rex W. Huppke criticized this comment, comparing it to the previous day's remarks at the National Scout Jamboree.[158] Trump also made remarks on the homicide rate in Chicago, and called on the mayor, Rahm Emanuel, to "get tough"; Emanuel responded the following day, stating: "It is not about being tough, it's about being smart and strategic."[159]

September 2017

Crowd at the Mother of All Rallies

On September 16, groups supporting Trump organized a rally on the National Mall named the Mother of All Rallies.[160][161][162][163] Organizers were originally hoping to draw one million attendees. However, in planning for security, the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia expected that only 1,800 people would attend and, ultimately, about one thousand people attended.[163][162][164]

A national organization had originally planned to hold "We Support Trump" rallies across the nation on September 9, however subsequently reneged on those plans.[165] However, an independent rally in support of Trump was subsequently announced to be held on that date in Georgetown, Delaware, in a county where Trump got a majority of the vote in 2016.[165] The Georgetown rally was sponsored by the Sussex County Republican Committee and attended by 100 people.[166][167]

On September 26, Trump attended a campaign fundraising dinner hosted by the Republican National Committee in New York City. The event was reported to have raised nearly $5 million, with major donors spending up to $250,000 to dine with President Trump.[168] Trump scheduled for a quick meeting with Nikki Haley and other U.N. officials immediately prior the fundraiser; travel expenses were reportedly filed as "government business", and therefore taxpayer-funded.[168] Trump's pattern of mixing travel for fundraising activities with travel for government business has drawn criticism from government watchdog organizations.[168]

Trump was scheduled to headline a fundraiser in Dallas on September 27, which was canceled by its organizers in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.[169]

October 2017

On October 16, Trump indicated his desire to see his 2016 general election opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton, run again in 2020. Clinton had previously asserted that she had no desire to run for public office again.[170]

On October 25, the president traveled to Texas for a fundraiser hosted by the Dallas County Republican Party for both the RNC and his reelection campaign.[169][168][171] The event was closed to the media. Mark Knoller noted, "By my count, this will be Pres Trump's 10th political fundraiser since taking office. 9 of 10 were closed to press coverage including today."[172]

November 2017

In early November, ethics watchdogs and political analysts expressed concerns over Trump's daughter-in-law Lara Trump assuming a greater role in the White House, while also continuing to be an active member of Trump's reelection campaign.[173] Lara Trump, while working for the reelection campaign, had reportedly held private political meetings with government officials such as Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, Veteran Affairs Committee chairman Phil Roe and Representative Ron DeSantis.[173]

December 2017

President Trump held a rally in Pensacola, Florida.[citation needed]

In December 2017, polls showed that more than 40 percent of Americans wanted Trump impeached, reportedly higher than the percentage of Americans who said at the time that they planned to vote for him in 2020.[174]

2018 campaign developments

February 2018

In February 2018, the Trump campaign sent out an email with a photo of Trump paying a hospital visit to a student survivor of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. After stating that Trump prioritises the safety of American students and schools, the email linked to the campaign's donations page.[175]

Brad Parscale was chosen as Trump's 2020 campaign manager in February 2018.

On February 25, the Drudge Report announced that the president had chosen Brad Parscale as the campaign manager for his re-election campaign.[176] Parscale was the digital strategist for the previous campaign as the head of Giles-Parscale, which raised some concerns about how the campaign would conduct its advertising.[177]

March 2018

On March 10, Trump held a rally in Moon Township, Pennsylvania. He campaigned for Rick Saccone for the local special election and also declared that his 2020 campaign slogan would be "Keep America Great!".[178]

On March 13, Trump made his first trip to the state of California as president to attend a campaign fundraiser at the Beverly Hills home of Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Ed Glazer.[179] The same day, it was announced that Katrina Pierson and John McEntee had been hired by the campaign as senior advisors.[180][181]

April 2018

In 2018, Trump skipped the White House Correspondent's Dinner, holding a rally on the same night (as he had the previous year), this time in Washington, Michigan.[182]

May 2018

In May, Trump held a rally in Indiana where he once again shared that his 2020 campaign slogan would be "Keep America Great!". Although he had already revealed this before, Trump told the supporters at his rally,

'Keep America Great!' Because we are doing so well that in another two years when we start the heavy campaign, 'Make America Great Again' wouldn't work out too well. It's going to be 'Keep America Great' because that's exactly where we are headed. But don't tell anybody. I don't want anybody to know.[183]

June 2018

On June 20, President Trump held a rally in Duluth, Minnesota, supporting Republican Congressional candidate Pete Stauber in the 2018 midterm elections[184] and addressing his own 2020 prospects in the state[185] among other subjects. The rally came on the day the president had signed an executive order on the treatment of immigrant families with children.[184] At the rally he said enforcement at the border would be "just as tough" under the executive order.[185]

Trump traveled to the Nevada Republican Convention in Las Vegas on Saturday, June 23, and also appeared on the trip at a fundraiser for U.S. senator Dean Heller. Along with policy issues Trump addressed Heller's challenger, U.S. representative Jacky Rosen, as "Wacky Jacky". The president continued, asking of the simultaneous Nevada Democratic Party convention in Reno featuring Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, "Wacky Jacky is campaigning with Pocahontas, can you believe it?"[186]

On June 27, the president held a rally in Fargo, North Dakota, supporting Representative Kevin Cramer in his challenge to sitting Senator Heidi Heitkamp. President Trump also addressed, at the rally, the just-announced news of the retirement from the Supreme Court of Justice Anthony Kennedy. Cramer addressed the issue of abortion and Heitkamp's position on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act as his reason for entering the race. "'On behalf of the most forgotten people,' Mr. Cramer said to the president as both men took the stage to deafen applause, 'the unborn babies, thank you for standing for life.'"[187]

October 2018

During a campaign rally in Houston on October 22, Trump defined himself as a nationalist. He acknowledged the controversial use of this word, stating: "We're not supposed to use that word, [...] but I'm very proud. I think it should be brought back."[188][189]

November 2018

The campaign finances a number of rallies,[190] in support of Republican candidates in the Midterm election. These are somewhat successful, as the Senate's Republican majority is slightly increased.[191] However, the Republicans lost their majority with 40 seats in the House of Representatives.

December 2018

The campaign makes the unprecedentedly early move to merge the campaign's field operations with that of the Republican National Committee.[192] The campaign tapped White House political director Bill Stepien and Director of Public Liaison Justin Clark as senior political advisors, who would focus on delegate organization and to ensure the 2020 Republican National Convention would run smoothly,[193] though this is doubtful due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

2019 campaign developments

January–March 2019

In January, in a unanimous vote, the Republican National Committee informally endorsed the president's campaign and coordination between the two entities formally began.[194]

In February, a state-by-state effort was launched by Trump's campaign team to oppose any presidential challenges from within the Republican Party. The campaign has used endorsements, lobbying and state-party rule changes to ensure Trump does not face opposition during the Republican nominating convention, with a senior campaign adviser calling it a "process of ensuring that the national convention is a television commercial for the president for an audience of 300 million and not an internal fight."[195][196]

El Paso rally

The first rally of the year took place at the El Paso County Coliseum, in El Paso, Texas on February 12. It was highlighted by pro-wall talking points and a BBC cameraman filming the event, getting into a scuffle with a supporter that the president disavowed.[197]

CPAC

From February 28 to March 3, the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC took place in National Harbor, Maryland. This year, the usual straw poll was not held, and on the last day, Trump made a two-and-a-half hour-long speech,[198] which was covered live by C-SPAN and Fox News, and was prominently featured in media throughout the world.

Grand Rapids

On March 28, the president held a rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, during which he revelled in his alleged "exoneration" calling for Democrats to apologize for the Russia investigation and to stop the "ridiculous bullshit." [199]

Trump also attacked Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, as "little pencil-neck ... who has the smallest, thinnest neck I've ever seen", and someone who is "not a long-ball hitter". The president then ticked through those he felt wronged him as the crowd chanted, "Lock them up! Lock them up!"[200]

April–June 2019

In April, Trump visited the border at Calexico, California[201] before attending campaign events in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.[202][203]

The New York Times reported in June 2019 that after Trump had been briefed on internal polling showing he was trailing Joe Biden in several key states, he instructed aides to deny it and to publicly state that other data showed him doing well. The next day, Trump tweeted, "The Fake (Corrupt) News Media said they leaked into polling done by my campaign ... They reported Fake numbers that they made up & don't even exist," later telling reporters, "we are winning in every single state that we polled." Public polls at the time showed Trump trailing in key states such as Texas, Michigan and Pennsylvania.[204][205][206] Days later, the Trump campaign severed ties with some of its internal pollsters.[207] Trump also said that "something weird" is happening at Fox News after their poll also showed him losing to several Democratic candidates.[208]

On June 12, 2019, during an interview with ABC News, Trump said that were a foreign country to offer damaging information on a political opponent, his reaction would be: "I think I'd want to hear it ... There's nothing wrong with listening." Trump also said the "FBI director is wrong" about the need to inform the FBI about a foreign government attempting to influence an election.[209][210][211] Trump initially claimed his comments were mischaracterised, prompting ABC News to release a transcript.[211] On June 13, Federal Election Commission chairwoman Ellen Weintraub stated: "It is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election."[212] On June 14, Trump told Fox News: "If I don't hear what it is, you're not going to know what is ... Now, if I thought anything was incorrect or badly stated, I'd report it to the Attorney General, the FBI."[211]

A joint report published in June 2019 by the Center for Public Integrity, NBC News and CNBC detailed that the 2016 and 2020 Trump campaigns have yet to pay bills totaling over $800,000 to 10 city governments for costs incurred to ensure public safety concerning Trump campaign rallies. The rallies took place from January 2016 to August 2016, and from September 2018 to February 2019.[213]

On June 18, 2019, Trump officially launched his re-election campaign at a rally at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.[214]

On June 21, 2019, writer E. Jean Carroll alleged via New York magazine that Trump raped her in a department store dressing room in 1995 or 1996. Two friends of Carroll confirmed to New York that Carroll had previously confided in them regarding the incident. Trump denied ever meeting Carroll, although New York had published a photo of Trump and Carroll together in 1987.[215][216][217]

On June 24, 2019, Trump and the GOP launched WinRed, a centralized small-dollar fundraising platform designed to compete with Democrats' ActBlue.[218][219]

July 2019

At a campaign rally on July 17 in North Carolina, Trump criticized four Democratic congresswomen (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib), stating: "They never have anything good to say. That's why I say, 'Hey if you don't like it, let 'em leave' ... if they don't love it, tell them to leave it."[220][221] Trump said this in spite of his own history of criticizing previous United States administrations and policies, including his 2016 campaign slogan "Make America Great Again" indirectly asserting America was no longer "great", and his first presidential speech decrying "American carnage".[222][223] In his speech, Trump referenced Tlaib, when she called Trump a 'motherfucker', in which Trump stated: "that's not somebody that loves our country."[224] Trump also named Omar and continued that Omar "looks down with contempt" on Americans, the crowd of Trump supporters reacted by chanting 'send her back!'[225][226] After the rally, Trump tweeted: "What a crowd, and what great people". Asked about the chants on July 18, Trump said he disagreed with the chants, and claimed he had tried to stop them by "speaking very quickly".

August 2019

At an August 1 campaign rally in Cincinnati, Ohio, Trump declared: "We will be ending the AIDS epidemic shortly in America, and curing childhood cancer very shortly." This echoed his earlier comments during the June 2019 Orlando, Florida rally, when Trump pledged: "we will come up with the cures to many, many problems, to many, many diseases – including cancer".[227] Despite attacking four Democratic congresswomen as being too critical of America, Trump continued a recent trend of criticizing major American cities; at the rally, Trump singled out the cities of San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago. Trump said that Democrats governing liberal cities "deliver poverty for their constituents and privilege for themselves", with federal funding becoming "stolen money and it's wasted money". He also blamed protesters interrupting his rally on the premise that Cincinnati "must have a Democrat mayor". Trump accused Baltimore of having a higher homicide rate (55.8 of 100,000 people) than the country Afghanistan; which was true, but then the murder rate for American cities in 2017 (5.3 of 100,000 people) was barely lower than the Afghan homicide rate in 2012 (6 of 100,000 people). However, Trump did not propose any policies to solve the problems he says exists in these American cities.[228][229]

On August 7, following the 2019 Dayton shooting and the 2019 El Paso shooting, Trump visited Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas. That day, Trump fired back at Democratic presidential candidates Beto O'Rourke ("be quiet") and Joe Biden ("boring") who had previously criticized him.[230][231] Trump additionally labelled Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro as a "fool" and "not much" of a man.[232] While talking to medical staff at El Paso, Trump mentioned that his February 2019 campaign rally in the city had drawn a much bigger crowd than O'Rourke's campaign rally that same day. A campaign-style video of Trump shaking hands and posing for photos during the visit was released by the White House.[233]

September 2019

On September 11, Trump tweeted that he has not "even started campaigning yet".[234]

As the Trump–Ukraine scandal emerged and Trump faced an impeachment inquiry, the Trump campaign launched a $10 million television and web campaign with a video claiming Joe Biden had offered Ukraine $1 billion if they fired a prosecutor who was "investigating his son's company", including video of Biden boasting that the prosecutor had been fired.[235] Hunter Biden served on the board of directors of Burisma Holdings, the owner of which was investigated, but Biden himself was not investigated. Then-vice president Biden had in March 2016 threatened to withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees if Ukraine did not fire the prosecutor, Viktor Shokin. The Obama administration and other governments and non-governmental organizations were concerned that Shokin was not adequately pursuing corruption in Ukraine, was protecting the political elite, and was regarded as "an obstacle to anti-corruption efforts." In particular, he was seen to be slow-walking the Burisma investigation.[236][237] The ad asserted that Trump had acted to fight corruption and Democrats were impeaching him for it. No evidence has surfaced of any malfeasance by the Bidens.[238]

Previously, in sworn testimony, the administration officials said Giuliani directly conveyed the president's demands to them that Ukraine launch investigations into the son of former Vice President Joe Biden and a long-debunked 2016 election-related conspiracy. However, Trump later denied sending Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine to push Biden.[239]

October–December 2019

As the impeachment investigation continued, the campaign spent copious amounts of money defending the president against it.[240][241]

Prior to December 12, three lawsuits claimed Trump's business dealings have been violating the Constitution. All these cases advanced to critical stages in federal courts.[242] On the night of December 18, coinciding with the vote to impeach him, Trump held a rally in Battle Creek, Michigan. He received criticism for suggesting the deceased representative John Dingell may have gone to hell.[243]

The Associated Press acquired a recording of senior Trump campaign advisor Justin Clark telling Wisconsin Republicans that "traditionally it's always been Republicans suppressing votes in places" and 2020 would be the time to "start playing offense a little bit" to protect their voters. Clark asserted to the AP that he was speaking about how "Republicans historically have been falsely accused of voter suppression."[244]

In October, the Trump campaign ran a Facebook ad that falsely claimed Joe Biden offered to bribe Ukrainian officials to not investigate his son, Hunter Biden.[245]

2020 campaign developments

January 2020

The impeachment trial began on January 16.[246]

  • January 9: First campaign rally of 2020 is held at the 8,000 seat Huntington Center in Toldeo, OH.[247]
  • January 14: Monster Rally in Green Bay, WI[248]
  • January 28: Monster Rally in Wildwood, NJ[249]
  • January 30: Monster Rally at Drake University's Knapp Center in Des Moines, IA[250]
  • January 31: The Kansas state convention begins, being the second official event of the Republican race.

February 2020

  • February 1: At the Kansas state convention, the entire selection process takes place, culminating with the official binding of the delegation to President Trump, giving him his second state.
  • February 2: The Iowa caucuses: the president gets 31,464 or 97.1% of the vote.[251]
  • February 10: Monster Rally at the SNHU Arena in Manchester, NH[252]
  • February 13: The New Hampshire primary the President gets 129,461. pr 85.7% of the votes cast.[253]
  • February 22: The Nevada state committee awards all its delegates to President Trump.[254]

March 2020

  • March 3: Super Tuesday. With over 60% of delegates selected by this date. The race for the nomination is formally over.
  • March 5: Facebook removes Trump campaign ads directing users to participate in an "Official 2020 Congressional District Census" on what was actually a campaign fundraising site.[255]

April 2020

  • April 23: The Trump campaign released a new app which offers rewards for sharing Trump's tweets.[256]
  • Late April: Trump scolded campaign manager Brad Parscale after data from two polls, one from the Trump's own campaign and one the Republican National Committee, showed Trump losing to Joe Biden in swing states, reported The Washington Post and CNN. At one point, Trump said he may sue Parscale, although it is unclear whether he was joking. Both Trump and Parscale denied that Trump had shouted. Parscale did not deny a conflict, and he did not deny Trump saying he may sue. Trump told the media he does not "believe the polls".[257][258]

May 2020

  • May 4: CNN sent a "cease and desist" letter to the Trump campaign regarding its ad, "American Comeback", which had begun running the previous evening on cable television.[259] The ad selected words from a CNN interview and inserted them into a different context, making it a clear example of "deceptive editing", The Washington Post explained.[260]

June 2020

  • June 8: After a CNN poll found Trump 14 percentage points behind Joe Biden, Trump on Twitter declared the poll "FAKE", saying he had "retained highly respected pollster, McLaughlin & Associates", to analyze that poll. The Republican Party's congressional campaign arm has advised Republicans to avoid employing McLaughlin & Associates after it predicted in 2014 that Republican Representative Eric Cantor would win re-election in a Republican primary by 34 points, but Cantor actually lost by around 10 points. Later in 2018, McLaughlin & Associates predicted that Republican Representative Rob Woodall would win re-election by 27 points, but Woodall ended up winning by only 0.2 points.[261]
  • June 9: The Trump campaign sent a cease-and-desist letter to CNN over their poll, demanding a retraction and apology. CNN refused.[262] During June, Trump also suggested he might sue campaign manager Brad Parscale for presenting polling data showing the president trailing in several key states. The New York Times describes this incident as a jest, rather than a serious threat, and participants in the call say Parscale responded to the threat by saying, "I love you, too."[263]
  • June 10: Amid the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, the Trump campaign said the president would resume his campaign rallies, the first being at Tulsa, Oklahoma, on June 19.[264] Ticketholders must "assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19", and cannot hold the Trump campaign liable for resultant illness or injury.[265] The rally was later pushed back by one day to June 20, out of respect for the original date falling on Juneteenth (which was deemed insensitive due to the Tulsa race massacre and killing of George Floyd).[266]
  • June 12: The RNC decided not to write a new platform for 2020, reusing 2016's, which denounces the "current president".[267]
  • June 15: In a tweet, campaign manager Brad Parscale indicated that ticket requests for the June 20 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, had surpassed a million.[268][269]
  • June 20: Trump held his first campaign rally in months at the BOK Center in Tulsa. The seating capacity of the arena is 19,199[270] and in the days leading up to the event, Parscale said more than 800,000 people had registered for the rally.[271] Attendance at the rally was just under 6,200, according to the Tulsa Fire Department.[272] The numbers projected by the campaign were way off due to TikTok users and K-pop fans reserving tickets and not showing up.[273][274] Trump spent 14 minutes (around 1/8th of the length of his speech) talking about walking slowly down a ramp.[275][276]
  • June 23: President Trump holds rallies in Phoenix and Yuma, Arizona.[277][278]

July 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic and George Floyd protests continued into July, public polling showed Trump's approval significantly weakening, causing him to fall behind Joe Biden in key battleground states as well as states that historically vote Republican, such as Georgia, Texas and Kansas.[279][280][281] On July 4, Politico reported that Trump was "trailing [Biden] by double digits in recent polls".[282]

Celebrating Independence Day with an address at Mount Rushmore, Trump said he was in a battle against a "new far-left fascism." The New York Times characterized Trump as using the address "to mount a full-on culture war against a straw-man version of the left that he portrayed as inciting mayhem and moving the country toward totalitarianism." The Washington Post reported that while "amplifying racism and stoking culture wars have been mainstays of Trump's public identity for decades, they have been particularly pronounced this summer as the president has reacted to the national reckoning over systemic discrimination by seeking to weaponize the anger and resentment of some white Americans for his own political gain."[283][284]

On the evening of July 4, musician and entrepreneur Kanye West announced his campaign for the presidency. Los Angeles Times reported that "It's unclear whether West has filed any of the necessary paperwork to formally join the race between incumbent Donald Trump – for whom West has expressed admiration", and said this "might be part of an effort to draw Black supporters away from Biden to help Trump."[285]

Vice President Pence and White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany claimed that Joe Biden had asserted police had "become the enemy". Biden's words were taken out of context, as he had actually said the use of military-grade heavy equipment by police officers can look like "the military invading" communities and thus makes police "become the enemy" in the perception of some in the community.[286] According to Media Matters, Trump surrogate Sean Hannity also misrepresented Biden's words to his radio and television audiences at least 17 times in July.[287]

On July 10, the Trump campaign postponed a rally planned for the next day in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, with Tim Murtaugh, the campaign's communications director citing "safety reasons because of Tropical Storm Fay".[288] On July 15, Trump announced that he had promoted former deputy campaign manager Bill Stepien to campaign manager, replacing Brad Parscale.[289][290]

On July 19, in an interview aired on Fox News, Trump called the network's poll showing Biden leading by 8% "fake", further saying he would "have to see" if he would accept a loss in the election, citing postal voting as a way it would be rigged against him.[291] According to CNN, "There is no credible evidence that mail-in voting is rife with corruption,"[292] and "the concerted push by Trump to delegitimize mail-in ballots is raising alarm bells among Republican operatives, who are worried the President's demand for in-person voting will mainly serve to dampen turnout among his own supporters."[293][b]

During the first half of July, the campaign ran a television ad more than a thousand times targeted at women in Ohio, falsely asserting that Joe Biden proposes to "defund the police", which would increase home invasions and rapes, concluding that "You won't be safe in Joe Biden's America." Trump won Ohio by eight points in 2016 but polls showed he was in a statistical tie with Biden in July.[296] Across numerous other states, Trump ran another ad falsely accusing Biden of proposing to defund the police, with a simulated 911 call response:

You have reached the 9-1-1 police emergency line. Due to the defunding of the police department, we're sorry but no one is here to take your call. If you are calling to report a rape, please press one. To report a murder, press two. To report a home invasion, press three. For all other crimes, leave your name and number and someone will get back to you. Our estimated wait time is currently for five days. Goodbye.[297]

In June and July, the campaign spent over $2 million on Facebook ads. One claims (with 308 variations) that "Dangerous MOBS of far-left groups are running through our streets and causing absolute mayhem. They are DESTROYING our cities and rioting."[298] In July, television ads were aired intending to portray the violent turmoil of a future Biden presidency—utilizing images of turmoil occurring during Trump's presidency.[299][298]

In mid-July, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute formally asked the Trump campaign and Republican National Committee to stop using Reagan's name and likeness for fundraising. The request came after a campaign email solicitation offered commemorative coins with images of Trump and Reagan.[300]

On July 23, Trump announced the cancellation of the Jacksonville portion of the 2020 Republican National Convention, citing rising COVID-19 numbers.[301] On July 30, he publicly suggested delaying the election due to COVID-19, despite the authority to make such a change lying with Congress.[302] Some of the most prominent leaders of the Republican Party rejected that such a prospect would be considered.[303] Later the same day, Trump walked back his comments, while repeating his condemnation of postal voting.[292][b] Responding to the comments and the president's handling of the pandemic, Timothy Egan writes in a New York Times opinion piece that Trump "should do humanity a favor and surrender now," saying this could "save many lives of supporters who have listened to the lethal quackery from the presidential podium."[304] According to multiple high-ranking Republicans, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has signaled to Republican Senate candidates that they may distance themselves from Trump if they feel it will help them salvage their own campaigns.[305]

At the end of July, the Trump campaign temporarily halted television advertising to reassess its messaging strategy. A campaign official attributed the pause to the recent change in campaign leadership, stating, "We'll be back on the air shortly, even more forcefully exposing Joe Biden as a puppet of the radical left-wing." The campaign had $146.6 million budgeted for television and radio ads from Labor Day until November.[306] Television advertising was expected to resume on August 3, with a focus on states that will vote the earliest.[307]

Finances

While Donald Trump donated and loaned funds to his previous campaign during the Republican primaries, thus far he has not donated any of his own money to his reelection campaign. Instead, his reelection campaign has solely solicited donations.[308]

Trump began fundraising for his reelection campaign immediately upon being inaugurated, years earlier into his presidency than his predecessors had.[155]

Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. quarterly financial summaries
Quarter Cash on hand
at beginning
Receipts Disbursements Cash on hand
at end
Debts owed
to campaign
Debts owed
by campaign
2017 Q1[309] 7,611,702.92 7,120,150.93 6,370,250.57 8,361,603.28 0.00 0.00
2017 Q2[310] 8,361,603.28 7,954,888.84 4,369,374.54 11,947,117.58 0.00 0.00
2017 Q3[311] 11,947,117.58 10,129,336.13 4,071,599.06 18,004,854.65 0.00 0.00
2017 Q4[312] 18,004,854.65 6,895,755.62 2,791,451.84 22,109,158.43 0.00 0.00
2018 Q1[313] 22,109,158.43 10,106,775.80 3,876,088.55 28,339,845.68 0.00 0.00
2018 Q2[314] 28,339,845.68 8,368,358.11 3,621,333.93 33,086,869.86 0.00 0.00
2018 Q3[315] 33,086,869.86 10,026,045.24 7,705,411.15 35,407,503.95 0.00 0.00
2018 Q4[316] 35,407,503.95 6,946,974.43 23,061,577.18 19,292,901.20 0.00 1,035,597.65
Total 2017–2018[317] 7,611,702.92 67,548,285.10 55,867,086.82 19,292,901.20 0.00 1,035,597.65
2019 Q1[318] 19,292,901.20 30,304,180.03 8,834,888.53 40,762,192.70 0.00 528,116.26
2019 Q2[319] 40,762,192.70 26,516,845.63 10,541,672.69 56,737,365.64 0.00 294,070.29
2019 Q3[320] 56,737,365.64 40,958,012.84 14,479,108.22 83,216,270.26 0.00 216,915.00
2019 Q4[321] 83,216,270.26 45,980,113.53 26,410,679.60 102,785,704.19 0.00 170,377.55
2020 Q1[322][323][324] 102,785,704.19 34,258,184.38 38,573,302.28 98,470,586.29 0.00 234,670.08
Grand total 7,611,702.92 245,565,621.50 154,706,738.14 98,470,586.29 0.00 234,670.08

Funding pace

Logo of the Trump Make America Great Again Committee

At the end of the first quarter of 2017, the campaign's three committees ("Donald J. Trump for President", "Trump Victory", and "Trump Make America Great Again Committee") reported raising a combined $13.2 million, the majority of which had come from small donors.[75]

Trump's campaign and the Republican National Committee ultimately raised a combined $55 million in the first quarter. According to the National Review's Kelly Jane Torrance, Barack Obama and the Democratic National Committee had raised roughly $16 million in the same period of Obama's first term.[11]

On March 17, 2017, the campaign saw what was its highest single-day contribution total, with the campaign and its joint-fundraising-committee raising a combined total of $314,000.[325][326] By the end of May the RNC had raised more than $62 million in 2017. The RNC had already received more online donations than they had in the entire year of 2016.[138]

On April 14, 2019, the campaign announced that it had raised $30 million in the first quarter of 2019, far outpacing the campaigns of his individual Democratic opponents in the same period. Average donations were $34.26, and nearly 99 percent of donations to the campaign were $200 or less. In addition, the Republican National Committee brought in $45.8 million in first-quarter 2019.[327]

Notable expenditures and allegations of grifting

In April 2017, The Wall Street Journal determined that the Trump campaign had reported spending nearly $500,000 in payments to companies owned by Trump, amounting to more than 6% of the $6.3 million that the campaign reported spending.[328] Additionally, the campaign spent more than $4 million on memorabilia (such as hats).[11]

In the third quarter of 2017, the Trump campaign spent $4.1 million (27% of its expenditures) on legal fees, including the personal legal expenses of Trump and his family.[329][330] By this point, 10% of the campaign's overall spending since the beginning of the year had been on legal fees.[330]

As of March 2019, Trump's campaign had spent almost twice as much on Facebook and Google ads as the entire Democratic field combined.[331]

In its first two years since it was launched in January 2017, the Trump 2020 campaign paid more than $890,000 in rent for space in Trump Tower,[332][333] and the Republican National Committee paid $225,000.[333] As of July 2020, the campaign's committees directed more than $17.4 million of campaign donor money to Trump properties while the Republican National Committee paid $2.6 million.[334][335]

Between January 2017 and March 2020, Trump's reelection committees paid $38.9 million to companies owned by Trump 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale. In the analysis of Democratic political consultant James Carville, "They're all just fleecing the campaign ... Everybody is trying to take everything they can get on the way out."[336] Former GOP strategist Rick Wilson, noting that Parscale bought a Ferrari, a Land Rover, a waterfront house and a yacht, said the campaign's leaders "are taking Donald Trump to the cleaners."[337]

In April 2020, it was revealed that Brad Parscale was paying $180,000 per year to Kimberly Guilfoyle, the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr., and another $180,000 per year to Lara Trump, wife of Eric Trump. Parscale was paying them through his company, not through the campaign or the party. "I can pay them however I want to pay them," Parscale told reporters. Two anonymous Republicans in the White House suggested that the payments were deliberately made this way so the campaign didn't have to report them. Paul Ryan, an expert on campaign finance with the watchdog group Common Cause, said, "It's donor money." Stuart Stevens, a top aide in Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign, accused Parscale of being "a money launderer".[338]

Groups supporting Trump

The Republican Party

On January 23, 2019, the Republican National Committee, in a unanimous vote, informally endorsed the president.[194][195]

Super PACs

Super PACs supporting Trump's reelection campaign include Committee to Defend the President,[8] Great America PAC,[8] and Great America Committee.[339][340]

The Great America PAC received donations from, among others, former racer Walker Evans[341] and Insperity executive Jay Mincks.[342]

The Committee to Defend the President super PAC received contributions from, among others, Enterprise Products executive Ralph S. Cunningham.[343]

The Center for Public Integrity published an analysis of 2017 first-quarter federal campaign spending records which revealed that two Super PACs supporting Trump, Great America PAC and Committee to Defend the President, had spent a combined $1.32 million on the 2020 election campaign.[8] Ted Harvey serves as the chairman of the Committee to Defend the President. Eric Beach and Ed Rollins serve as co-chairmen of Great America PAC.[8] Both PACs have previously been accused by the FEC of poorly maintaining financial records, and had been threatened with penalties.[8] The Center for Public Integrity also found that several other pro-Trump PACs had already been founded in 2017, but most of them had yet to be very active. One such PAC was America First Action, which was founded by the CEO of a political consulting firm for which Trump's 2020 campaign treasurer is the senior vice president.[8]

On May 17, 2017, Mike Pence filed FEC paperwork to form Great America Committee, a PAC that would be headed by his former campaign staffers Nick Ayers and Marty Obst.[339][340] This is the first time in U.S. history a sitting vice president has founded such a political organization.[339]

On August 7, Marc Lotter, a spokesperson for Mike Pence, confirmed to MSNBC's Hallie Jackson that the vice president had hosted Republican donors, including mega-donors Charles and David Koch, at Number One Observatory Circle.[150]

At the end of the third quarter, the FEC calculated that in 2017 super PACS and other outside groups supporting Trump had spent more than $2 million.[344]

Amount spent by outside groups in support of campaign

Table displays the amount that groups have reported to the FEC they have spent in support of Trump's candidacy (As of June 2020)[345]

Group Amount
The Committee to Defend the President 10,238,007.24
Great America PAC 9,040,257.11
Other 4,250,388.10
Total 23,528,652.45

Other groups

In late January 2017, several members of Trump's 2016 campaign staff formed America First Policies, a pro-Trump political nonprofit. Those involved included former deputy campaign chairs Rick Gates and David Bossie. Brad Parscale[346] and Katrina Pierson were also involved. Additionally involved were Nick Ayers and Marty Obst, both of whom served as advisors to Mike Pence during the 2016 campaign.[347] Trump's former White House deputy chief of staff Katie Walsh has also joined the organization.[102] Near the end of May, members of the organization (including Walsh) participated in meetings at the RNC's D.C. offices with members Trump's family to discuss campaign strategy.[102][103][104]

In 2017, Matt Braynard, a key member of Trump's 2016 campaign staff, established the organization Look Ahead America.[348] The organization has taken steps to target inactive voters in places such as New Hampshire.[348] Trump came close to winning New Hampshire in the 2016 election.[348] Look Ahead America has claimed that it will not be coordinating their efforts with the president.[348]

In August 2018, a group called the 45 Alliance was formed. All three of the group's officers had served on Trump's transition team, and two of them also served in Trump's White House. During the calendar year in which the 45 Alliance was formed, it was entirely funded by Trump for America, a nonprofit that supported Trump's transition ($150,000); by America First Policies ($150,000); and by the Republican National Committee ($75,000). Neil Corkery is in charge of the 45 Alliance's finances. "He has ties to several high-profile dark money operations," Walker Davis wrote, "like the Wellspring Committee and Judicial Crisis Network. In 2018, an anonymous million-dollar contribution to President Trump's inauguration was linked to him."[349]

Rallies

2020 campaign rallies
Date of rally City State Venue Estimated attendance Source
Monday, February 11, 2019 El Paso TX El Paso County Coliseum 6,000 [350]
Thursday, March 28, 2019 Grand Rapids MI Van Andel Arena 14,000 [351]
Saturday, April 27, 2019 Green Bay WI Resch Center 10,000 [352]
Wednesday, May 8, 2019 Panama City Beach FL Aaron Bessant Park Amphitheater 7,500 [353]
Monday, May 20, 2019 Montoursville PA Williamsport Regional Airport 15,000 [354]
Tuesday, June 18, 2019 Orlando FL Amway Center 20,000 [355]
Wednesday, July 17, 2019 Greenville NC Williams Arena 8,000 [356]
Thursday, August 1, 2019 Cincinnati OH U.S. Bank Arena 17,500 [357]
Thursday, August 15, 2019 Manchester NH SNHU Arena 11,000 [358]
Monday, September 9, 2019 Fayetteville NC Crown Expo Center 5,500 [359]
Monday, September 16, 2019 Rio Rancho NM Santa Ana Star Center 8,000 [360]
Thursday, October 10, 2019 Minneapolis MN Target Center 20,000 [361]
Thursday, October 17, 2019 Dallas TX American Airlines Center 21,000

[362]

Tuesday, November 26, 2019 Sunrise FL BB&T Center (Sunrise, Florida) 20,000 [363]
Tuesday, December 10, 2019 Hershey PA Giant Center 12,000 [364]
Wednesday, December 18, 2019 Battle Creek MI Kellogg Arena 5,400 [365]
Thursday, January 9, 2020 Toledo OH Huntington Center 8,000 [366]
Tuesday, January 14, 2020 Milwaukee WI UW–Milwaukee Panther Arena 12,000 [367]
Tuesday, January 28, 2020 Wildwood NJ Wildwoods Convention Center 7,500 [368]
Thursday, January 30, 2020 Des Moines IA Knapp Center 7,600 [369]
Monday, February 10, 2020 Manchester NH SNHU Arena 12,000 [370]
Wednesday, February 19, 2020 Phoenix AZ Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum 14,000 [371]
Thursday, February 20, 2020 Colorado Springs CO Broadmoor World Arena 8,500 [372]
Friday, February 21, 2020 Las Vegas NV Las Vegas Convention Center 15,000 [373]
Friday, February 28, 2020 North Charleston SC North Charleston Coliseum 13,000 [374]
Monday, March 2, 2020 Charlotte NC Bojangles' Coliseum 10,000 [375]
Saturday, June 20, 2020 Tulsa OK BOK Center 6,200 [376]
Tuesday, June 23, 2020 Phoenix AZ Dream City Church 3,000 [377]

Technology

The Trump campaign uses "geofencing." This technology detects when a smartphone is within a narrow geographic area like a church or a sports stadium, and it captures identifying information from that device. This allows political marketers to gather names, addresses, and voter registration status of the people who were present at the event and who presumably share some ideological, religious, or other demographic affinities. In January 2020, the New York Times reported that "the Trump campaign is far ahead of the Democratic Party in the use of this technology."[378]

Commentary

Speaking in April 2020, Noam Chomsky said Trump's re-election would be a disaster. According to Chomsky, the Trump policies have been extremely destructive to not only America but to the entire world, and he fears that, given four more years, those policies will probably accelerate: "What this is going to mean for health is bad enough [but] it will get worse. What this means for the environment or the threat of nuclear war, which no one is talking about but is extremely serious, is indescribable."[379]

Political positions

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Informally announced on February 17, 2017
  2. ^ a b On August 3, 2020, Trump said he had the right to issue an executive order concerning mail-in voting. He elaborated, "We haven't got there yet, but we'll see what happens."[294] On August 4, he tweeted:

    Whether you call it Vote by Mail or Absentee Voting, in Florida the election system is Safe and Secure, Tried and True. Florida's Voting system has been cleaned up ... so in Florida I encourage all to request a Ballot & Vote by Mail![295]

References

  1. ^ a b c d Scott, Eugene (April 17, 2017). "Trump campaign raking in money for 2020, disclosures show". Cnn.com. CNN. Retrieved April 27, 2017. Trump's campaign committee has spent about $6.3 million during the first quarter of 2017. That includes giving more than $70,000 to the campaign committee's manager, Michael Glassner, who was Trump's deputy campaign manager, and more than $40,000 to John Pence, Vince [sic] President Mike Pence's nephew, who serves as the committee's deputy director.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Bender, Michael C. (February 19, 2019). "Trump adds senior campaign staff for 2020 race as risk of a GOP primary challenger rises". MarketWatch. Retrieved March 6, 2019.
  3. ^ "Lara Trump becomes face of Donald Trump's 2020 re-election campaign". The Daily Telegraph. London. October 19, 2017. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
  4. ^ "Don Jr.'s Girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle Lands Top Trump Campaign Role". The Daily Beast.
  5. ^ "Trump campaign hires Katrina Pierson". The Hill.
  6. ^ "Bill Shine resigns from the White House to advise Trump's 2020 campaign". CNBC.
  7. ^ "Trump body man Johnny McEntee leaving White House for campaign". POLITICO.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Levinthal, Dave (May 5, 2017). "Pro-Trump super PACs have already spent $1 million on Election 2020". Publicintegrity.org. The Center for Public Integrity. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  9. ^ "TRUMP, DONALD J – Candidate overview – FEC.gov". FEC.gov.
  10. ^ a b Tumulty, Karen (January 18, 2017). "How Donald Trump came up with 'Make America Great Again'". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 5, 2017.
  11. ^ a b c "'Keep America Great': Trump Reelection Effort Raised $13M So Far, Report Says". insider.foxnews.com. Fox News. April 15, 2017. Retrieved April 28, 2017.
  12. ^ Benen, Steve (March 21, 2017). "Trump picks the wrong slogan: 'Promises made, Promises kept'". Msnbc.com. MSNBC. Retrieved June 28, 2017.
  13. ^ a b "Trump Reveals 2020 Re-Election Slogan: 'Keep America Great!'". FOX News Insider. Fox News. January 18, 2017. Retrieved March 5, 2017.
  14. ^ a b "FEC Form 99/Form 2" (PDF). Federal Election Commission. January 20, 2017. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
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