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Trump’s Attempts to Fundraise off His Big Lie are Actually Working

The former president’s election lies have helped him pool more than $100 million for his political whims. 

Former President Donald Trump was the Republican Party’s most prolific fundraiser in the first half of the year and finished June with a total “war chest of more than $100 million,” the New York Times reports. His cache raised in the first six months of 2021, made public in federal campaign filings this weekend, was collected not despite his unwillingness to accept that he lost the 2020 election but because of it. The Big Lie has kept his base galvanized in the post-presidency period. 

“Trump has continued to vigorously solicit donations from supporters, based mostly on false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election,” the Washington Post reports. Trump himself has made the connection between his fundraising achievements and lies, the Times notes, citing a statement in which Trump expressed his gratitude for “the millions of men and women who share my outrage and want me to continue to fight for the truth.” He’s raised donations online even without access to major social media platforms or a White House megaphone. 

The former president’s assault on the democratic system has helped him amass, across his various political action committees, a total of almost $102 million in cash on hand. Trump’s advisers claimed this weekend that “nearly $82 million” of that sum came in the last six months; the Times disputed that accounting, citing FEC filings that show “at least $23 million in transfers” to his new PACs “had actually been raised last year in other Trump-affiliated accounts.” Trump spokesman Jason Miller stood by the team’s calculation in a statement, but it wouldn’t be the first dishonest moment in the ex-president’s fundraising efforts. 

Nonetheless, the actual figure raised by the operation via WinRed—the Republican Party’s dominant platform for online donations—in the first half of 2021 exceeds that of any other GOP politician, according to the Times. For comparison, the second biggest fundraiser among Republicans, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, generated $7.8 million in online donations.

The money that Trump has stockpiled, at least in part by continuing to capitalize on false claims of election fraud that he has been repeating since last year, only enhances his sustained power over the GOP. The ex-president “may use the resources to exert influence on next year’s midterms, boost candidates he favors and take revenge against those who have spoken out against him,” according to the Post. Trump has previously urged supporters to donate exclusively to him—not to any other fundraising groups within his party. With few restrictions on how he can use this reservoir of cash, the Post notes that Trump is armed with “an alternative source of money” amid his private company’s increasingly uncertain future and talk of his third bid for the White House. “This man has no intention of going away,” said GOP donor Dan Eberhart.

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