Trump’s fundraising sets records amid outbreak

FILE - In this March 2, 2020, file photo President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, N.C. Trump's record-setting fundraising pace slowed slightly amid the coronavirus outbreak, but remained strong as he remains on track to top Democrats. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump’s record-setting fundraising pace slowed slightly amid the coronavirus outbreak but remained strong as he maintains a massive cash advantage over Democrats.

The Trump reelection campaign and the Republican National Committee raised more than $212 million in the first quarter of 2020, according to figures first obtained by The Associated Press, bringing their total to more than $677 million since 2017. Their haul for March, even as the nation’s economy began grinding to a halt to slow the pandemic, was more than $63 million.

That represented a slowing from the more than $86 million raised in February but nonetheless was Trump’s second-best month ever, and it kept his campaign on pace to maintain its massive fundraising advantage over Democrats.

The pro-Trump effort will report having more than $240 million in the bank at the end of March — more than $40 million more than two months prior. The campaign has planned to raise more than $1 billion among itself, the RNC and associated joint fundraising committees.

The fundraising totals come at a pivotal moment for the campaign, both as former Vice President Joe Biden became the presumptive Democratic nominee and as the coronavirus outbreak began to sweep the nation.

“President Trump’s unyielding commitment to the American people has shown time and again that he is the president we need to lead our country through this crisis, and it’s clear that voters are responding to his bold leadership,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said. “The enthusiasm for President Trump and our party remains strong, and we continue to be all systems go toward November.”

Democrats have yet to release their March hauls, but at the end of February, Biden’s campaign and the DNC held just roughly $20 million combined, accounting for debt held by the national party.

“Americans can see President Trump leading this nation through a serious crisis, and they are responding with their continued enthusiastic support for his reelection,” Trump 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale added.

The pandemic has effectively ceased traditional campaigning and fundraising, moving it to digital and other means. Trump held his last formal fundraiser on March 9 in Florida and his last rally on March 2 in Charlotte, North Carolina, the city scheduled to host the Republican National Convention in late August.

To fill the gap, the Trump campaign has started to host near-daily video streams featuring prominent Trump surrogates and campaign officials and has continued to pepper supporters with digital fundraising requests.