Trump raises nearly US$53 million after guilty verdict

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In an extraordinary demonstration of support, Donald J. Trump’s campaign announced a remarkable fundraising total of nearly US$53 million within 24 hours of his felony conviction. This unprecedented sum sets new records for Republican online fundraising and is set to significantly close the financial gap between Trump and President Joe Biden in the lead-up to the 2024 presidential election.

The magnitude of this financial influx is astounding, nearly equaling the US$58 million raised by Trump’s main fundraising arm over the last six months of 2023. On May 31, Friday morning, the campaign initially reported raising close to US$35 million in the hours following the verdict, but by evening, this figure had soared to US$52.8 million within a single day.

Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita, senior advisers to Trump, expressed optimism about this surge in a joint statement, indicating that the campaign’s momentum is just beginning. The full verification of this financial boost will await the filing of reports by campaign committees and WinRed, the online processing platform for Republicans, with the Federal Election Commission in the upcoming months.

A notable 30% of the donors were new to WinRed, bringing fresh contributors to Trump’s campaign as it gears up for the November election. This surge dwarfed the $4 million raised after Trump’s mug shot was released in 2023 following his booking in Atlanta for another indictment.

Biden’s campaign entered May with a significant cash advantage, holding US$84 million compared to Trump’s US$49 million. The recent fundraising success could potentially negate this lead. Biden’s campaign has claimed an additional $100 million spread across various accounts shared with the Democratic Party, while Trump’s campaign has not disclosed its total cash on hand with party accounts.

The Biden campaign has used its financial edge to fund extensive advertising in key battleground states since Trump became the Republican nominee. Trump, in contrast, has been mostly absent from these advertising efforts, but the recent influx of funds could dramatically increase his campaign’s visibility.

Trump’s post-verdict fundraising significantly surpassed the US$26 million Biden’s campaign raised within 24 hours of announcing Kamala Harris as his vice-presidential pick in 2020. In April, Trump’s collaboration with the Republican National Committee raised US$76.2 million, outpacing the US$51 million raised by Biden’s joint operations with the Democratic National Committee for the first time.

The conviction has not only mobilized Trump’s base but also spurred donations from Democrats, albeit to a lesser degree. ActBlue, the online platform for Democratic contributions, recorded three of its four highest donation hours of 2024 on the evening of Trump’s conviction, peaking at nearly US$1.3 million in a single hour.

Trump’s campaign announced that nearly US$53 million was raised from small-dollar donations following his conviction in the New York hush money trial. This remarkable haul, averaging over US$2 million per hour, was described by senior aides Chris LaCivita and Susie Wiles as an “outpouring of support from patriots across our country.” They labeled the court’s decision a “sham trial verdict” and noted that the digital fundraising system experienced temporary delays due to overwhelming traffic from donors. By Friday evening, the total had reached US$52.8 million.

Trump was convicted on 34 counts of falsifying business records to cover up a sex scandal during the final stages of the 2016 presidential campaign. Prosecutors alleged that Trump engaged in a sexual encounter with porn actress Stormy Daniels shortly after Melania Trump gave birth in 2006, and later paid hush money to prevent fallout and deceive voters, while falsifying records to conceal the payment. Trump’s sentencing is scheduled for July 11, though he plans to appeal the verdict.

Campaign advisers LaCivita and Wiles argued that the conviction had reinvigorated the MAGA movement. Despite Biden’s deliberate avoidance of comments on the trial and no evidence of his administration’s involvement in the New York state-led investigation, Trump’s supporters have rallied around him.

Trump’s ability to turn scandals to his advantage was evident as his campaign website quickly redirected visitors to a fundraising page declaring him a “political prisoner” after the conviction. The surge in support caused the page to crash for an hour, overwhelmed by the volume of traffic on WinRed, the Republican donation platform.

Trump often frames his legal challenges as battles against the “deep state” and Biden’s administration, presenting himself as a martyr defending his supporters’ values. He has previously likened himself to Nelson Mandela and Jesus Christ, reinforcing his image as a persecuted figure.

“WITCH HUNT! IF THIS CAN HAPPEN TO ME, IT CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE!” Trump posted on Truth Social, galvanizing his base and solidifying his narrative as a defender of their values.

This unprecedented fundraising success highlights Trump’s enduring appeal and sets the stage for a fiercely competitive 2024 presidential race.

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