President Donald Trump is the first president in history to file papers to run for re-election on the day he was sworn in to office. That allowed him to set up a re-election campaign right away, and to use the Office of the President as a fundraising prop, something he loves to do.
For example, on Wednesday the President traveled to Texas, where he held not one, not two, but three campaign events – including a fundraising dinner.
But tucked in between all those campaign events, was this entry on his official schedule: "The President delivers remarks and signs an Executive Order on Energy and Infrastructure."
That allowed him to hand taxpayers the bill for some of his trip.
Sunday night and Monday morning headlines heralded Trump's fundraising prowess:
"The Trump campaign amassed a vast $30 million reelection war chest at the start of 2019, as much as the top 2 Democratic challengers combined," Business Insider wrote.
"Trump Raises $30 Million in First Quarter, Smashing Democratic Numbers," New York Magazine touted.
Trump of course should be raking in the dough. He's been running for over two years now, and has a full and experienced team in place.
But is $30 million historic? Incredible? A great sign for Trump's re-election prospects?
Not according to CNBC's chief Washington correspondent, John Harwood, a man who knows numbers and politics.
for comparison: in the first quarter of Obama’s 2012 re-election fund-raising, Q2 2011, he took in $45-M That was… https://t.co/F9zHea2JXo— John Harwood (@John Harwood) 1555330344.0
(And by the way, President Barack Obama didn't launch his re-election bid until April 4, 2011. Q2 of 2011 would be April, May, and June.)
Trump's had two years, a full team, and only took in $30 million?
As the headlines say, that $30 million is "as much as the top 2 Democratic challengers combined." But don't forget, there are 18 announced Democratic challengers. That's a lot of competition. And many Democrats may be waiting to donate until the field narrows down a bit, or until everyone has announced.
$30 million may sound like a lot, but $45 million sounds like a lot more.
Sometimes, like in fundraising and in crowd size, size does matter:
Comparing Donald Trump and Barack Obama's inaugural crowd sizes https://t.co/5JEcNQSOJe https://t.co/A9nkUI9Ecv— CNN Politics (@CNN Politics) 1484937321.0