Donald Trump 2020 presidential campaign
|Donald Trump 2020 presidential campaign|
|Campaign||2020 United States presidential election|
President of the United States
Vice President of the United States
|Status||Announced: June 18, 2019[note 1] |
Presumptive nominee: March 17, 2020
Manhattan, New York City, New York (main base)
|Key people||Brad Parscale (campaign manager)|
Michael Glassner (campaign committee manager)
Tim Murtaugh (communications director)
Kayleigh McEnany (national press secretary)
Lara Trump (senior consultant)
Kimberly Guilfoyle (senior adviser)
Katrina Pierson (senior adviser)
Bill Shine (senior adviser)
John McEntee (senior adviser)
Marc Lotter (strategic communications director)
John Pence (campaign committee deputy executive director)
Bradley Crate (campaign treasurer)
Cole Blocker (finance director)
Megan Powers (administrative operations director)
Chris Carr (political director)
Bill Stepien (senior political adviser)
Justin Clark (senior political adviser)
|Receipts||US$358,199,769.41 (December 31, 2019)|
Keep America Great!
Promises made, promises kept
Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!
Keep America Working
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".
On November 7, 2018, Trump confirmed that Mike Pence would be his vice presidential running mate in 2020. On June 18, 2019, Trump held an official campaign launch event at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.
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. These moves indicated that Trump was already eyeing a 2020 run.
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.
Trump officially filed his reelection campaign with the FEC on January 20, 2017, the day of his inauguration. 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. Trump filed the papers for his reelection campaign approximately 47 months prior to the date of the election. In contrast, both Reagan and George H. W. Bush filed approximately twelve months, George W. Bush filed approximately eighteen, and both Clinton and Obama filed approximately nineteen months prior to the date of the election.
While previous presidents had held rallies in the early days of their presidency to garner support for legislation, such rallies differed from those held by Trump in that they were funded by the White House rather than by campaign committees. 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. Trump's February 2017 rally in Melbourne, Florida, was the earliest campaign rally for an incumbent president.
By filing for his campaign as early as he did, Trump gave also himself a head start on fundraising. This can theoretically help discourage primary challengers.
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.
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.
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.
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. Political observers consider the rise in presidential fundraising as a symptom of the permanent campaign.
The disproportionately large amounts of time that presidents have spent visiting key electoral states (and 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. 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. 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. 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.
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.
In April 2020, in an unprecedented move, the Treasury released the coronavirus pandemic relief checks with Trump's name on them.
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. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic in early spring 2020, however, Trump's approval rating saw a small but notable rally in support. However, his approval rating has ticked down in the spring and summer of 2020. Opinion polls conducted nationally in 2020 have generally shown Trump trailing presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden when tested in general election matchups, with the former vice president's advantage often extending beyond that of the survey's margin of sampling error.
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."
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."
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.
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. By that time his campaign offices at Trump Tower already included a staff of about ten people led by Republican strategist Michael Glassner. Glassner's deputy is John Pence, nephew of Vice President Mike Pence. The campaign staff was focused on data-building and fundraising for a 2020 reelection campaign.
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. 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.
February 2017: First rally
By February 1, 2017, Trump's reelection campaign had already raised over $7 million.
The first rally organized by the campaign was held on February 18, 2017, in Melbourne, Florida, and was attended by an estimated 9,000 supporters. It was the earliest an incumbent president had ever held a reelection campaign rally. During the rally, Trump defended his actions and criticized the media. He referred to a nonexistent incident that had supposedly happened in Sweden the previous night—"last night in Sweden...", while criticizing the asylum policies of several European countries. After backlash from the press and the Swedish government, Trump stated that he was referring to a Fox News program aired the previous day.
On February 24, Trump spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual event which has often held a presidential straw poll. However, the CPAC 2017 straw poll did not include a preference survey on presidential candidates.
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. Several of the rallies were met by counter-demonstrations where some protesters were arrested. Other events were held around the country throughout March, some of which resulted in violence.
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. 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.
April 2017: Fourth rally
By mid-April, the Trump campaign had a staff of around twenty employees.
Trump held his fourth campaign rally on April 29 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, which coincided with the hundredth day of Trump's presidency. It also took place the same night as the White House Correspondents' Dinner, which Trump did not attend. 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." The ad buy, which included advertisements targeted at voters who supported specific agenda items of Trump's presidency, came approximately 42 months before election day 2020, or any other major party's candidate declarations. FactCheck.org found several inaccuracies in the advertisement, and Eric Zorn of the Chicago Tribune described the 30-second advertisement as being, "stuffed with Trump's signature misleading puffery". 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. Subsequent airings of the advertisement substituted this clip.
The ad claimed that the "fake news" media refused to report the successes of the administration, but Forbes pointed out that the ad itself cited mainstream media sources including CNBC, The Boston Globe and The New York Times. 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". ABC, CBS and NBC later joined CNN in refusing to play the ad. 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."
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. 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. 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 prevented uniformed military officers from engaging in any political activity.
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. On May 25, Trump's sons Donald Jr. and Eric along with Eric's wife Lara held a series of meetings at the Republican National Committee's (RNC) Washington, D.C., offices to outline campaign strategy.
June 2017: Fifth rally, first fundraiser and visits to swing states
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. The rally was held June 3 at Lafayette Square. The event was sponsored by the Fairfax County Republican Committee and the Republican Party of Virginia. Relatively few people attended the event, with estimates varying from 200 people (including counter-protesters) to "dozens" of supporters. By comparison, more people attended the anti-Trump March for Truth, which was held the same day.
Trump began campaigning in Iowa in June. Iowa was considered to be a perennial swing state and the Iowa caucus is scheduled as the earliest presidential primary election. Iowa has also been home to nonbinding straw polls held ahead of the primaries (Trump won the 2015 straw poll among Republican candidates).
On June 7, Trump delivered what the New York Daily News described as a “campaign-style speech” in Cincinnati, Ohio. Five days later, reports surfaced that Trump was making plans to embark on a more expansive tour that would visit several battleground states.
Trump held his fifth official campaign rally in Cedar Rapids in eastern Iowa. 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. The date for the rally, having been changed several times, was ultimately held on June 21, marking the first time in his presidency that Trump traveled west of the Mississippi River. 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.
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. 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.
On June 28, the president hosted a fundraiser at his company's hotel in Washington, D.C., benefitting the Trump Victory Committee, a joint fundraising committee that raises funds for both his reelection campaign and the RNC. The fundraiser was the first event that Trump hosted for the Trump Victory Committee since becoming president, as well as the first presidential campaign fundraiser. The event was co-organized by RNC chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel and RNC National Finance Chairman Steve Wynn. The fundraiser was attended by about 300 guests and was reportedly expected to gross $10 million. Trump was joined at the event by First Lady Melania Trump and top White House advisors. Among those reported to have been in attendance at the fundraiser were Mica Mosbacher, Dean Heller and Katrina Pierson. Additionally, Harold Hamm and a number of high-profile figures were spotted in the hotel's lobby during the event. Press were barred from the event, a break of precedent since reporters were permitted to the first fundraisers held by both of Trump's two predecessors. Trump's decision to host the event at a venue from which he personally profits garnered criticism.
Lara Trump made appearances on behalf of the campaign at events in New York and Texas during the month of June. 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.
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. 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. 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. One of the benefits that Trump was speculated to obtain from such trips is more favorable coverage from local news outlets in the areas visited. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Trump held his sixth campaign rally on July 25 at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown, Ohio. During the speech, Trump reveled in addressing an audience outside of the national capital. 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. 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."
On September 16, groups supporting Trump organized a rally on the National Mall named the Mother of All Rallies. 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.
A national organization had originally planned to hold "We Support Trump" rallies across the nation on September 9, however subsequently reneged on those plans. 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. The Georgetown rally was sponsored by the Sussex County Republican Committee and attended by 100 people.
On September 26, Trump attended a campaign fundraising dinner hosted by the Republican National Committee (RNC) 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. 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. Trump's pattern of mixing travel for fundraising activities with travel for government business has drawn criticism from government watchdog organizations.
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.
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. 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."
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. 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.
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 the 2020 election.
2018 campaign developments
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.
On February 25, the Drudge Report announced that the president had chosen Brad Parscale as the campaign manager for his re-election campaign. 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.
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!".
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. The same day, it was announced that Katrina Pierson and John McEntee had been hired by the campaign as senior advisors.
In May, Trump held a rally in Indiana where he once again shared that his 2020 campaign slogan would be "Keep America Great!". Despite the fact that 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.
On June 20, President Trump held a rally in Duluth, Minnesota, supporting Republican Congressional candidate Pete Stauber in the 2018 midterm elections and addressing his own 2020 prospects in the state among other subjects. The rally came on the day the president had signed an executive order on the treatment of immigrant families with children. At the rally he said enforcement at the border would be “just as tough" under the executive order.
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?"
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 deafening applause, 'the unborn babies, thank you for standing for life.'"
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."
The campaign finances a number of rallies, in support of Republican candidates in the Midterm election. These are somewhat successful, as the Senate's Republican majority is slightly increased. However, the Republicans lost their majority with 40 seats in the House of Representatives.
The campaign makes the unprecedentedly early move to merge the campaign's field operations with that of the Republican National Committee. 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 that the 2020 Republican National Convention would run smoothly, though this is doubtful due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
2019 campaign developments
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 that 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."
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.
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, which was covered live by C-SPAN and Fox News, and was prominently featured in media throughout the world.
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." 
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!”
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 had a leak 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. Days later, the Trump campaign severed ties with some of its internal pollsters. Trump also said that "something weird" is happening at Fox News after their poll also showed him losing to several Democratic candidates.
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 that the "FBI director is wrong" about the need to inform the FBI about a foreign government attempting to influence an election. Trump initially claimed his comments were mischaracterised, prompting ABC News to release a transcript. 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". 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."
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 with regard to Trump campaign rallies. The rallies took place from January 2016 to August 2016, and from September 2018 to February 2019.
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.
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." 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". In his speech, Trump referenced Tlaib, when she called Trump a 'motherfucker', in which Trump stated: "that's not somebody that loves our country". 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!' 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 that he tried to stop the chant by "speaking very quickly".
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". 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.
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. Trump additionally labelled Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro as a "fool" and "not much" of a man. 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.
On September 11, Trump claimed on Twitter that he has not "even started campaigning yet."
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 was fired. 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. 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.
Previously, in sworn testimony, the administration officials said that 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.
Prior to December 12, three lawsuits claimed that Trump's business dealings have been violating the Constitution. All of these cases advanced to critical stages in federal courts. 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 that the deceased representative John Dingell may have gone to hell.
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 that 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."
2020 campaign developments
2020 U.S. presidential election
- January 14: Monster Rally in Green Bay, WI
- January 28: Monster Rally in Wildwood, NJ
- January 30: Monster Rally at Drake University's Knapp Center in Des Moines, IA
- January 31: The Kansas state convention begins, being the second official event of the Republican race.
- 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.
- February 10: Monster Rally at the SNHU Arena in Manchester, NH
- February 13: The New Hampshire primary the President gets 129,461. pr 85.7% of the votes cast.
- February 22: The Nevada state committee awards all its delegates to President Trump.
- 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.
- April 23: The Trump campaign released a new app which offers rewards for sharing Trump's tweets.
- 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 that he does not "believe the polls".
- May 4: CNN sent a "cease and desist" letter to the Trump campaign regarding its ad, "American Comeback," that began running the previous evening on cable television. 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.
- June 8: After a CNN poll found Trump 14 percentage points behind Joe Biden, Trump on Twitter declared the poll "FAKE", while stating that 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.
- June 9: The Trump campaign sent a cease-and-desist letter to CNN over their poll, demanding a retraction and apology. CNN refused.
- June 10: Amid the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, the Trump campaign said that the president would resume his campaign rallies, the first being at Tulsa, Oklahoma, on June 19. Ticketholders must "assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19", and cannot hold the Trump campaign liable for resultant illness or injury. 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).
- June 12: The RNC decided not to write a new platform for 2020, reusing 2016's, which denounces the "current president".
- June 15: In a tweet, campaign manager Brad Parscale indicated that ticket requests for the June 20 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, had surpassed 1 million.
- 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 and in the days leading up to the event, Parscale said that more than 800,000 people had registered for the rally. Attendance at the rally was just under 6,200, according to the Tulsa Fire Department. The numbers projected by the campaign were way off due to TikTok users and K-pop fans reserving tickets and not showing up. Trump spent 14 minutes (around 1/8th of the length of his speech) talking about walking slowly down a ramp.
- June 23: President Trump holds rallies in Phoenix and Yuma, Arizona.
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. On July 4, Politico reported that Trump was "trailing [Biden] by double digits in recent polls".
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."
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 that this "might be part of an effort to draw Black supporters away from Biden to help Trump."
- July 10: Trump campaign cancels rally in Portsmouth, NH scheduled for Saturday July 11th, with Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign’s communications director citing “safety reasons because of Tropical Storm Fay” as the cause of the postponement.
- August 24–27: National Convention
- Charlotte, North Carolina (day 1)
- Jacksonville, Florida (days 2–4)
- First debate
- Rest of debates
- November 3: General election
Electoral college meets
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.
Trump began fundraising for his reelection campaign immediately upon being inaugurated, years earlier into his presidency than his predecessors had.
|Quarter||Cash on hand
|Receipts||Disbursements||Cash on hand
|Debts owed |
This section needs to be updated.December 2019)(
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.
Trump's campaign and the Republican National Committee (RNC) 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.
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. 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.
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.
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. Additionally, the campaign spent more than $4 million on memorabilia (such as hats).
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. By this point, 10% of the campaign's overall spending since the beginning of the year had been on legal fees.
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, and the Republican National Committee paid $225,000.
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." Former GOP strategist Rick Wilson, noting that Parscale bought a Ferrari, a Land Rover, a waterfront house and a yacht, said that the campaign's leaders "are taking Donald Trump to the cleaners."
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 that 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.”
Groups supporting Trump
The Republican Party
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. 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. Both PACs have previously been accused by the FEC of poorly maintaining financial records, and had been threatened with penalties. 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.
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. This is the first time in US history that a sitting vice president has founded such a political organization.
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.
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.
Amount spent by outside groups in support of campaign
|The Committee to Defend the President||10,238,007.24|
|Great America PAC||9,040,257.11|
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 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. Trump's former White House deputy chief of staff Katie Walsh has also joined the organization. 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.
In 2017, Matt Braynard, a key member of Trump's 2016 campaign staff, established the organization Look Ahead America. The organization has taken steps to target inactive voters in places such as New Hampshire. Trump came close to winning New Hampshire in the 2016 election. Look Ahead America has claimed that it will not be coordinating their efforts with the president.
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."
|Date of rally||City||State||Venue||Estimated attendance||Source|
|Monday, February 11, 2019||El Paso||TX||El Paso County Coliseum||6,000|||
|Thursday, March 28, 2019||Grand Rapids||MI||Van Andel Arena||14,000|||
|Saturday, April 27, 2019||Green Bay||WI||Resch Center||10,000|||
|Wednesday, May 8, 2019||Panama City Beach||FL||Aaron Bessant Park Amphitheater||7,500|||
|Monday, May 20, 2019||Montoursville||PA||Williamsport Regional Airport||15,000|||
|Tuesday, June 18, 2019||Orlando||FL||Amway Center||20,000|||
|Wednesday, July 17, 2019||Greenville||NC||Williams Arena||8,000|||
|Thursday, August 1, 2019||Cincinnati||OH||U.S. Bank Arena||17,500|||
|Thursday, August 15, 2019||Manchester||NH||SNHU Arena||11,000|||
|Monday, September 9, 2019||Fayetteville||NC||Crown Expo Center||5,500|||
|Monday, September 16, 2019||Rio Rancho||NM||Santa Ana Star Center||8,000|||
|Thursday, October 10, 2019||Minneapolis||MN||Target Center||20,000|||
|Thursday, October 17, 2019||Dallas||TX||American Airlines Center||21,000|
|Tuesday, November 26, 2019||Sunrise||FL||BB&T Center (Sunrise, Florida)||20,000|||
|Tuesday, December 10, 2019||Hershey||PA||Giant Center||12,000|||
|Wednesday, December 18, 2019||Battle Creek||MI||Kellogg Arena||5,400|||
|Thursday, January 9, 2020||Toledo||OH||Huntington Center||9,000|
|Tuesday, January 14, 2020||Milwaukee||WI||UW–Milwaukee Panther Arena||12,000|||
|Tuesday, January 28, 2020||Wildwood||NJ||Wildwoods Convention Center||7,500|||
|Thursday, January 30, 2020||Des Moines||IA||Knapp Center||7,600|||
|Monday, February 10, 2020||Manchester||NH||SNHU Arena||12,000|||
|Wednesday, February 19, 2020||Phoenix||AZ||Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum||14,000|||
|Thursday, February 20, 2020||Colorado Springs||CO||Broadmoor World Arena||8,500|||
|Friday, February 21, 2020||Las Vegas||NV||Las Vegas Convention Center||15,000|||
|Friday, February 28, 2020||North Charleston||SC||North Charleston Coliseum||13,000|||
|Monday, March 2, 2020||Charlotte||NC||Bojangles' Coliseum||10,000|||
|Saturday, June 20, 2020||Tulsa||OK||BOK Center||6,200|||
|Tuesday, June 23, 2020||Phoenix||AZ||Dream City Church||3,000|||
|TBD, July TBD, 2020||Portsmouth||NH||Portsmouth International Airport||Postponed|
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 affinity. 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."
Speaking in April 2020, Noam Chomsky said that a Trump re-election would be an "indescribable disaster." According to Chomsky, the Trump policies have been extremely destructive to not only America but to the entire world and he fears that if given four more years the disastrous policies would probably accelerate. Chomsky states: "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."
- Donald Trump 2000 presidential campaign
- Donald Trump 2016 presidential campaign
- Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal
- List of Donald Trump 2020 presidential campaign endorsements
- Opinion polling on the Donald Trump administration
- Political positions of Donald Trump
- Presidency of Donald Trump
- 2020 Republican Party presidential primaries
- Informally announced on February 17, 2017
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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.
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Brendan Doherty provides empirical evidence of the growing focus by American presidents on electoral concerns throughout their terms in office, clearly demonstrating that we can no longer assume that the time a president spends campaigning for reelection can be separated from the time he spends governing. To track the evolving relationship between campaigning and governing, Doherty examines the strategic choices that presidents make and what those choices reveal about presidential priorities. He focuses on the rise in presidential fundraising and the targeting of key electoral states throughout a president's term in office – illustrating that recent presidents have disproportionately visited those states that are important to their political prospects while largely neglecting those without electoral payoff. He also shows how decisions about electoral matters previously made by party officials are now made by voter-conscious operatives within the White House.
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