The Don Isn’t Really Running For President But He Is Making Money
“It’s very possible that I could be the first presidential candidate to run and make money on it,” The Don told Fortune in 2000, during his first run for president.
He was referring to a $1 million motivational speaking deal he got from Tony Robbins that he timed to coincide with his campaign stops. This election cycle, The Don’s companies have already earned $1.4 million from his campaign.
He loaned his campaign just over $1.8 million during the second quarter of this year, but as of Oct 1. his campaign had spent $5.4 million. Most of the balance, $3.9 million, came from donors. Some contributions are “unsolicited,” in Trump’s words, but the rest comes from buying merchandise or clicking on the large “donate” buttons on his website. As of The Don’s last filing, there was only $250,000 left in the bank to run the the campaign and pay off the loan he made to himself, though he has surely raised more money since then.
Meanwhile, The Don’s various companies have contributed some $105,000 worth of services, including salaries for Trump’s pre-existing staff, including his feisty bodyguard, and, less explicably but more expensively, rent paid to his to luxury condo buildings in the heart of Manhattan: Trump Plaza and Trump Central Park South.
His campaign has also paid $160,000 to rent space at various Trump-owned buildings, including Trump Tower on 5th Ave. The campaign’s largest expenditure is $1.2 million to the private jet company that Trump owns in order to shuttle him around the US. All told, his campaign has paid Trump-owned entities $1.4 million, a little more than a quarter of all its spending.
Bolstering his blue chip bonafides, half of his donors gave less than $250. Comparatively, Senator Bernie Sander’s median donor gave $683.
The Don’s not running for President, but he’s enjoying running for President. Uproxx explains it:
He flies across the nation, delivers sprawling speeches, sells t-shirts and hats that read “Make America Great,” and exchanges insults with television hosts and fellow candidates. He does much of this (aside from travel expenses) for free. Other candidates waste the majority of their funds on advertising, while Trump rakes in publicity on Twitter. His speeches are so soundbite worthy that cable news networks also hand him exposure. He’s loving this.