by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Former President Donald Trump is facing backlash from top donors angered he failed to spend more to help secure Republican majorities in Congress after wading into key races with endorsements and raking in mountains of cash.
Wealthy political donors who helped fuel Trump’s fundraising operation expected the former president to juice the Republican candidates he fielded during the general election. Instead, millions of dollars are still sitting in Trump’s coffers, federal election records show.
A Republican source said Trump was on the receiving end of “extraordinarily severe” phone calls from donors incensed by how their contributions were handled. Trump’s response has been to apportion blame on those around him, including the aides charged with overseeing the operation.
The former president’s fundraising apparatus amassed mountains of cash ahead of the general election, spending only a fraction of the more than $130 million it collected, according to federal data compiled by OpenSecrets.
Yet in crucial races where Trump’s endorsed candidates were on the ballot, committees affiliated with Republican leaders dwarfed Trump’s own spending.
“When you’re asking all of donors [for money], you’re giving the pitch that it’s going to go towards supporting MAGA candidates to make sure that they get over the finish line,” a Republican source said, referencing the Trump-endorsed candidates. “The disbursements were abysmal.”
“They raised a ton of money for themselves and didn’t spend [enough],” a Republican operative said, adding that while Trump may be looking for someone to blame, any decisions ultimately lie with him.
Advisers to Trump did not respond to requests for comment.
In Pennsylvania, where Dr. Mehmet Oz lost the race to Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, Trump’s Make America Great Again Inc. committee spent about $3.4 million, according to the latest available data on OpenSecrets. It spent another $3.4 million in Georgia and nearly $2.4 million in Ohio. It spent almost $2 million in Nevada and $3.7 million in Arizona.