Big money donors avoiding Trump have forced him to run a 'small scale' presidential campaign
Donald Trump (Photo via Robyn Beck for AFP)

This weekend Donald Trump will attempt to make the first big splash of his 2023 presidential campaign with a visit to New Hampshire and South Carolina that will be decidedly smaller affairs than the raucous rallies he has previously held before adoring crowds at large venues.

Trump's first stop in New Hampshire will be in a tiny high school gym before a reported 200 Republican Party regulars — and not before cheering crowds as he starts off "small-scale," writes the New York Times' Michael Bender.

According to his report, fundraising has become an issue for the former president as big-money former donors have either moved on to other GOP candidates expected to make a run or are waiting to see how the Republican Party primaries pan out.

According to Bender, Trump's third run has the hallmarks of his first run in 2016 when he was considered a curiosity and not a serious candidate.

"Mr. Trump’s attempt to drape himself with the typical trappings of a traditional campaign is an unspoken acknowledgment that he begins the race in one of the most politically vulnerable positions of his public life. He remains the clear front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, yet the solidity of his support seems increasingly in doubt," Bender wrote for the Times before adding, "Longtime donors have been reluctant to recommit. Leaders in the Republican National Committee are openly encouraging other candidates to run."

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According to former Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH) who previously supported Trump, he has his work cut out for him.

“There’s no question former President Trump has lost some people — independents, some people in his base — so he’s got to come out of the gate slowly,” he explained before suggesting, "He’s got to work to get them back.”

As the report notes, the ones he really needs to come back are the big donors.

"Mr. Trump has largely relied on small online donations but has shed support from some deep-pocketed donors and has struggled to secure commitments from others," the Times is reporting. "In recent weeks, two longtime Republican financiers — Bernie Marcus, the Home Depot founder, and Miriam Adelson, a physician and philanthropist and the widow of Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate — have not committed to matching their previous financial support for his campaigns, according to people familiar with the discussions who insisted on anonymity to speak about private conversations."

Added former Trump booster Renacci, who is withholding his support at this time, "Former President Trump was a great candidate to defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016. But at this stage of the game, we need to look at who the candidates are and see if there is someone who cannot only take us in a new direction but also not split the American people in the process.”

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