The Trump campaign and Republican National Committee raised $210m in August, according to figures released on Wednesday, falling well behind the record-breaking sum of $364.5m that Joe Biden and the Democrats raised in the same month.
The figures point to the diverging financial fortunes of the two campaigns ahead of November 3 election. While the Trump campaign began the year with significantly more cash on hand than the Biden effort, the US president’s advantage has been all but erased in recent months.
At the end of July, Mr Trump’s campaign had $300m cash on hand, while Mr Biden’s had $294m — a marked shift compared with April when Mr Trump had a $155m advantage over his Democratic opponent.
In a press release on Wednesday, the president’s re-election team played down concerns that it was falling behind the Biden campaign in the race to raise money. It said the Trump campaign had raised $76m in donations during the Republican National Convention last month, $6m more than the $70m Mr Biden raised during the Democrats’ four-day event.
The Trump campaign also said that August had been “the largest online fundraising month” for Mr Trump’s re-election bid so far and suggested that it was spending its money more efficiently than the Biden team.
Bill Stepien, Mr Trump’s campaign manager, said both campaigns were raising “massive amounts of money” but that Mr Biden was spending most of his haul on television adverts while the Trump effort had invested in a “muscular field operation and ground game”.
The Trump campaign said: “No amount of money or saturating the airwaves from the Biden campaign will be able to make up for the fact that they are dormant at the doors and have no field operation.”
Mr Biden broke presidential fundraising records last month when his campaign announced the former vice-president and DNC had pulled in $364.5m in August. That was double what either campaign or their affiliated committees raised in July.
The Biden campaign has also maintained a more frugal spending policy during the coronavirus pandemic. The former vice-president has only recently started travelling to in-person campaign events again, after spending most of the past five months at home in Wilmington, Delaware, due to the spread of Covid-19.
Trump vs Biden: who is leading the 2020 election polls?
Use the FT’s interactive calculator to see which states matter most in winning the presidency
All of Mr Biden’s fundraisers have been conducted over Zoom, the videoconferencing platform, whereas Mr Trump has attended in-person events to raise money as well as occasional campaign rallies.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Mr Trump said he would be willing to invest his own money in to his campaign, adding that he would do “whatever it takes” to win re-election.
“If I have to, I would,” Mr Trump said, responding to reports that he was considering investing $100m in his re-election campaign. “We have much more money than we had last time going into the last two months. But if we needed any more, I’d put it up.”
In 2016, Mr Trump invested more than $60m of his own money in his election bid.