Former President Donald Trump and his campaign for the 2024 presidential election are cashing in on the former president’s recent indictment and following arraignment in New York City.
Trump’s campaign took in almost $18.8 million in the January-March first quarter of 2023 fundraising, according to figures provided Saturday by his campaign.
However, the campaign also pointed out that the former president brought in almost as much — $15.4 million — in the two weeks that followed March 30, when news broke that Trump would be indicted, which would make him the first former president in American history to be charged with a crime.
The former president was indicted for allegedly falsifying business records tied to hush money payments made to former stripper and porn actress Stormy Daniels in 2016 ahead of the presidential election to keep her quiet over her claims of a sexual relationship with Trump years earlier.
Trump denies sleeping with Daniels and falsifying business records to conceal the payment. The former president plead not guilty at his April 4 arraignment to 34 felony counts of falsifying business documents.
Former President Trump’s campaign rapidly capitalized on the March 30 indictment news, running ads on Facebook and sending out fundraising emails to supporters.
The donations spotlight how much the indictment and arraignment of the former president have energized his backers. Simultaneously, Trump increased his lead over the rest of the potential and actual contenders in public opinion polling in the 2024 GOP presidential nomination’s emerging race.
Indictment has helped Trump “quite a bit among Republican primary voters”
Republican pollster Daron Shaw, and Democrat Chris Anderson, who conduct surveys for Fox News, said the indictment news “has helped Trump quite a bit among Republican primary voters.”
Shaw emphasized that Republican primary voters “view the case as politically motivated, and it reanimates feelings that Trump is still fighting forces they see as corrupt and out of control.”
An indictment for a possible crime, a perp walk, and accompanying court hearings could sound like a death knell for any politician on the ballot. However, for Trump, they have been a gift.
The indictment put the 2024 spotlight firmly back on Trump and has made it far more difficult for any rivals to gain traction, which secures Trump’s position as the clear leader during the early legs of the primary battle.
“In the short term, there’s a rallying effect, there’s a fundraising effect, which Trump is going to fully employ,” said David Kochel, longtime GOP strategist, a veteran of numerous Iowa-based and presidential campaigns.
Numbers show the boost for Trump. He averaged around $170,000 in fundraising per day at the start of the first quarter on January 1 until news of the indictment broke. The former president took in a whopping $4 million in the 24 hours after news of the indictment.
The almost $18.8 million in fundraising during the first quarter combines two separate entities: Trump Save America JFC (joint fundraising committee) and the former president’s campaign (Donald J. Trump for President 2024). A law requires the campaign to report its first-quarter fundraising by the end of Saturday.
Former President Trump launched his third straight White House campaign in mid-November. Only two other major contenders announced their candidacies before the end of the first quarter. Both former two-term South Carolina Governor and former ambassador Nikki Haley and multi-millionaire entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy have dove into the GOP presidential nomination race in February.
Haley has taken in more than $11 million in fundraising during the first six weeks of her campaign, from mid-February through the end of the quarter on March 31. Ramaswamy has yet to announce his figures.
Along with public opinion polling, fundraising is critical in determining grassroots appeal and a candidate’s strength. Fundraising dollars can be utilized to pay for travel and ads and build up a candidate’s campaign structure.