President Donald Trump’s re-election effort raised $212 million in the first quarter of the year, extending an already massive lead over former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump’s likely opponent in the general election.
Trump’s re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee announced their fundraising haul of the first three months of the year on Monday. Between them, the groups and their shared committees have $240 million in cash on hand, according to The New York Times.
“Trump and the R.N.C. are on track to have $400 million cash on hand by July 4, an incredibly strong financial position in this political environment,” Chamber of Commerce senior political strategist Scott W. Reed said.
The president’s re-election effort has raised more than $677 million over the course of the election cycle, about $270 million more than former President Barack Obama had raised by this point in 2012. Biden, who became the defacto Democratic nominee after Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) dropped out last week, and the Democratic National Committee reported having just $20 million at the beginning of March.
“Americans can see President Trump leading this nation through a serious crisis and they are responding with their continued enthusiastic support for his re-election,” Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said, according to The Washington Post. “Joe Biden, Democrats, and the media continue to oppose his every action, but the people know that President Trump is fighting for them so they are fighting for him as well.”
Both Trump and Biden’s campaign will face significant obstacles to fundraising until the November election because of the global pandemic that originated in Wuhan, China, late last year. Biden’s campaign has struggled to put together a virtual fundraising campaign as Biden has been effectively quarantined to his house in Delaware, unable to court potential donors except through a studio set up in his basement.
Biden has not yet reported his first quarter fundraising. A spokesman for the Biden campaign said the former vice president raised $33 million in the first half of March before the coronavirus and related regulations effectively shut down much of the United States economy.
Sanders endorsed Biden on Monday in an effort to unite the moderate and radical wings of the party ahead of the general election.
“It’s no great secret Joe that you and I have our differences, and we are not going to paper them over. That’s real,” Sanders said. “But I hope that these task forces will come together, utilizing the best minds and people in your campaign and in my campaign, to work out real solutions to these very, very important problems.”
As The Daily Wire reported, “Sanders’ endorsement isn’t entirely unexpected — after all, he endorsed his former competitor, Hillary Clinton, after losing the nomination in 2016. But Sanders seems to be making things easier on the Democratic party this time around, endorsing his top competition for the 2020 Democratic presidential endorsement within a week of dropping out of the race and well before all of the state-level primaries finished.”
Sanders, a self-declared socialist, has stated he will stay on the ballot through the Democratic primary to amass delegates and be in a stronger position to influence the Democratic Party platform at the convention.