Outgoing US President Donald Trump has invested over $60 million of the $250 million he raised during his reelection campaign, The New York Times reported Friday, citing sources familiar with the matter.
The report said that the purported $60 million investment into a so-called 'leadership PAC' equals the amount of money Trump poured into his failed reelection campaign.
Trump reportedly received the largest amount of donations after Election Day. On 6 November, he is said to have raised almost $750,000 per hour. The report estimates that the "pile of campaign cash" that Trump will leave the White House with is "unheard-of for an outgoing president".
The NYT alleged that this money will provide Trump with "tremendous flexibility" for future political ambitions. Apart from leading the reported new political action committee (PAC), he could use the money in various ways, such as "to quell rebel factions within the party, reward loyalists, fund his travels and rallies, hire staff, pay legal bills" and even make a 2024 presidential run.
Continuing to ponder Trump's post-presidential plans, The NYT hints that he could "exert his control on national politics, especially among Republicans", citing his endorsement of "close ally" Ronna McDaniel and squabbles with party members like Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Georgia State Secretary Brad Raffensperger.
The outlet suggested, however, that Trump has shown less confidence in a potential 2024 ticket than he did two weeks ago, as announcing a candidacy "would trigger tighter rules on Mr. Trump’s political spending and added financial disclosures, including of Mr. Trump’s personal finances, that simply operating a PAC would not."
The NYT is not the only outlet to report on the new Trump PAC, as Politico reported that Trump's new entity is "a type of vehicle popular with both parties on Capitol Hill but long derided by watchdogs as essentially a type of slush fund, with few restrictions on how the money they raise can be spent".
“This is about maintaining relevance in 2022 to potentially set up 2024, all while freezing the [presidential primary] field,” Dan Eberhart, a major Republican donor, told Politico, also saying that if Trump is able to “be a part of the story of taking back the House” in 2022, then it could “show momentum in the midterms, he could be exceedingly relevant in 2024.”
According to an earlier Politico report, Trump messaged fellow Republicans, agitating them to donate money to help win the upcoming Georgia runoff election. The report claims, however, that the money he is given by donors will go instead to his PAC, and not to Senate candidates.
“We MUST defend Georgia from the Dems!” he recently tweeted. “I need YOU to secure a WIN in Georgia,” he said in another. “Help us WIN both Senate races in Georgia & STOP Socialist Dems,” he pleaded a few days later, according to Politico.
Trump's requests reportedly sparked concern among Republicans, who are worried that the sitting president "will use his post-presidency to advance his own interests at the expense of the party".
“The reality is Donald Trump does not care about the future of the Republican Party, so if he can raise money off of the Georgia runoffs but keep the money for his own purposes, he will do so,” said veteran GOP strategist Doug Heye, according to Politico.
Despite reports circulating in US media and speculating on Trump's post-presidency plans, a 2024 presidential run and its possible impact, Trump has not yet made any public announcement regarding the matter.
He does not seem to be willing to give up on his chances to impact the results of the election, either, since he has not yet conceded to Joe Biden, who was voted the winner of the presidential race by the US Electoral College on 14 December.
Some Republican allies of Trump claim that they will take a final shot at attempting to challenge the Electoral College vote in the US Congress on 6 January, where the results - Biden's 306 and Trump's 232 - will be certified.