WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump, facing the possibility of a cash crunch, said on Tuesday he would spend “whatever it takes” of his own money to finance his 2020 presidential campaign against Democrat Joe Biden if he had to.
The Republican president, who trails Biden in opinion polls ahead of the Nov. 3 election, told reporters before taking off for a trip to Florida that the campaign had double or triple what it had in 2016 but he would spend his own money if needed.
“If I have to, I would,” Trump said.
The New York Times reported that Trump’s initial financial supremacy over former Vice President Biden earlier this year had evaporated, and that of the $1.1 billion his campaign and the party raised from the beginning of 2019 through July, more than $800 million already had been spent.
Biden and the Democratic National Committee raised a combined $364.5 million in August, shattering the monthly record for fundraising by a presidential campaign. Trump and Republicans have not announced their August haul.
Trump, who was a wealthy New York-based real estate developer before entering politics, was asked how much he might have to spend from his own personal fortune. He had to dip into his own money in 2016 to help pay for his campaign.
“Whatever it takes. We have to win. This is the most important election in the history of our country,” he said.
Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, who took over from Brad Parscale in mid-July, told reporters on a campaign press call on Tuesday that “we are now carefully monitoring the budget.”
Stepien said the campaign will have more resources to spend than it had in Trump’s 2016 victory and that “we’re very comfortable and confident” in how money is now being spent.
Trump, under pressure for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, on Tuesday was traveling to two states critical to his re-election: Florida and North Carolina.
With many Republicans pointing fingers at Parscale for spending heavily earlier in the campaign, Trump defended him in a tweet.
The president said that due to the virus, his campaign was forced to spend a lot earlier this year to counter what he felt was negative news coverage.
“We did, and are doing, a GREAT job, and have a lot of money left over, much more than 2016,” he wrote.
Reporting by Jeff Mason and Steve Holland; Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Colleen Jenkins, Howard Goller and Jonathan Oatis