Trump donates $10 million to campaign for new ad buy

There’s good news and bad news. The good news is that he hasn’t written off his chances of winning, no matter what the public polls — or his own private polls — might be telling him. Dropping 10 large into the coffers with 12 days to go is a morale-booster for supporters. And, given Trump’s reluctance to spend mega-bucks on his campaign, it’s not a small amount of money even for a billionaire.

The bad news? That’s more complicated.

Donald Trump, seeking to boost momentum in the last days of the presidential election, wired $10 million of his own money into his presidential campaign Friday morning, two advisers said.

The cash infusion will be used to buy $25 million in new TV advertising in key battleground states, two advisers said. With some polls tightening in recent days, the Republican nominee is determined to pull out a win 11 days from now, one aide said…

In addition to Mr. Trump’s personal money, the campaign is receiving strong contributions among Republicans from small donors, according to one adviser. Since the second presidential debate, online fundraising has grown significantly, hitting $4.6 million Thursday alone, he said.

The bad news begins with the fact that this is a donation of necessity, not of luxury. The FEC reports for the first 19 days of October were released yesterday, revealing that Clinton’s campaign currently has $62 million in the bank to spend. Trump’s campaign has … $16 million. And they’ve been burning money faster than they’ve been raising it, taking in $30 million this month while spending $49 million. When you include the joint committees with each candidate’s national party, the financial disparity grows: Dems have $153 million on hand while the GOP has $68 million. That’s ominous for downballot Republicans, who are expecting to be swamped with last-minute Democratic spending. The RNC has received just $2.2 million from Trump’s campaign this month as part of their joint fundraising, bringing the grand total this year sent to the party to $61 million. In 2012, Romney’s joint fundraising committee raised more than twice that amount for the RNC — and his campaign didn’t depend as heavily on the RNC for ground-game operations as Trump’s does.

There’s more. Two days ago, Trump promised to donate $100 million to his campaign before it’s over. (“And I’m prepared to go much more than that.”) He’d contributed $56 million to date when he said that; this morning’s donation brings the total to $66 million. What about the rest? Bret Baier asked him about that in an interview earlier today. Trump’s reply: “We’ll see what’s needed.” The timing of all of this matters because the longer you wait to buy TV airtime, the more expensive it is. If Trump had dropped, say, $25 million into his campaign last month, the ads could have been reserved early and maybe more robust GOTV operations could have been organized. Instead, here’s how the month of October looked as of last night:

Coincidentally, not until the media began buzzing this morning about how little Trump had donated in October did he reach deep into his wallet for that $10 million. What’s really odd, though, is that virtually none of the people in Trump’s inner circle appear to have given to his campaign this year. No Ivanka, no Eric or Donald Jr, no Chris Christie or Newt Gingrich or Rudy Giuliani or Ben Carson. They’re capped by law from donating more than $2,700 so it’s not as though they’re expected to pony up big bucks. It’s less than three grand apiece. Why not donate as a simple symbolic gesture, if only to avoid bad press?

He’s still got 12 days to chip in the other $34 million he pledged, although the longer he waits, the less useful it might be. Here’s Kellyanne Conway reiterating this morning that Trump is in for $100 million and will continue to make donations until Election Day — and reminding everyone that, for all of Clinton’s vaunted fundraising advantages, the race remains close(-ish). That’s a fair point. The real bang for her buck that Clinton’s expecting, I assume, is in “microtargeting” voters and turning them out next month, where she should have a meaningful advantage over Trump. If it turns out that she doesn’t, a lot of rich Democrats are going to wonder where their money went.