Will the presidential candidate who boasts he is “really, really rich” have to eat his words?
According to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission late on Monday, Donald Trump is entering the general election campaign in the worst financial position of any major party nominee in recent history. His monetary disadvantage is compounded by organizational problems, such as a staff shortage and infighting within the Trump campaign.
The commission reports that Trump began June with just $1.3 million in cash on hand, and trailed his cashed-up Democratic rival Hillary Clinton by more than $41 million.
In addition, the GOP presumptive nominee has a staff of around 70 people, compared with nearly 700 for Clinton. His bare-bones approach is hampering his ability to run a competitive race toward the General Election in November, allies and donors say.
Until now, Trump has gotten by largely on his genius ability to use Twitter and traditional news media to his advantage. A master of showmanship and verbal attacks, he has created enough supporters to win the Primary Election.
But is that enough to get him to the White House?
Trump doesn’t seem worried at all. He even told a CBSN reporter that he won’t even begin advertising until after the GOP convention next month. It’s a good thing, because he will need to raise a whole lot more money to run ads to defeat Clinton.
On Monday, the campaign announced the firing of Corey Leandowski, Trump’s campaign manager. Those close to the campaign, particularly Trump’s children, reportedly made it clear that Leandowski lacked the ability to run a competitive race and needed to go. Earlier this year, he came under fire for allegedly bruising the arm of a reporter who tried to interview Trump at a rally. She filed charges, but the case was thrown out.
According to reports, the Trump campaign has not aired a television advertisement since he effectively secured the nomination in May. Conversely, Clinton and her allies have spent nearly $26 million on advertising in June alone, according to the Campaign Media Analysis Group. In addition, she continues to pummel Trump at various rallies, attacking everything from his temperament and racist comments, to personal financial failures.
Her attacks have only been answered by statements put out by Trump, Twitter rants, attacks at rallies and a pair of groups that spent less than $2 million combined on advertising.
In the same month that Trump clinched the Republican nomination, he raised just $3.1 million and was forced to lend himself an additional $2 million to meet costs.
Leandowski downplayed the lack of spending on advertising, saying, "We are leaner, meaner, more efficient, more effective. Get bigger crowds. Get better coverage. . .If this was the business world, people would be commending Mr. Trump for the way he's run this campaign."
The shortfall is leaving Trump extraordinarily dependent on the Republican National Committee, which has seen record fundraising this campaign cycle.