Biden Now Beating Trump In Fund-Raising For First Time

Former Vice President Joe Biden's election campaign outperformed President Donald Trump in monthly fundraising for the first time in May, though his overall clout still lags some way behind that of the incumbent.

The presumptive Democratic Party nominee and the Democratic National Committee raised $80.8 million in May, the Biden campaign announced last week. On Saturday, the Trump campaign said it had raised $74 million over the course of the month.

May was the first month that Biden was running unopposed on the Democratic platform. Rival Sen. Bernie Sanders withdrew from the contest in April and endorsed Biden for the nomination.

Biden's total is larger than the $60 million posted by President Barack Obama's reelection campaign in May 2012 and the $38 million raised by presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton in May 2016.

But the Biden campaign still has some way to go to close the overall funding gap with Trump's reelection push. Reuters said campaign disclosures filed Saturday showed that the Biden campaign had $82.4 million available at the end of May.

Trump—who launched his reelection campaign in 2017—had $108.1 million. Politico reported that the Trump campaign has as much as $265 million available.

Trump spent more in May than Biden, Reuters reported. The Trump 2020 campaign spent some $24.5 million over the month, more than half of which went into political advertising. Another $500,000 was spent in legal expenses in May, down slightly on April's legal costs.

Biden spent $11.7 million in May. Earlier this week, the challenger's campaign said it would launch a major TV and digital advertising push costing $15 million and targeting Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, Florida and North Carolina—all swing states that Trump carried in 2016.

Trump may still have the financial edge, but he is falling behind Biden in national and swing-state polling as his administration grapples with the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, an economic crisis, allegations of corruption and criminality, and nationwide protests against police brutality and systemic American racism.

The president has dismissed such polls, claiming his base is still motivated and that the "silent majority" will carry him to another term. But The New York Times reported last week that even Trump's closest advisers are concerned about his apparent ambivalence to the election and inability to arrest his sliding poll numbers.

At a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday—held despite the rising number of COVID-19 cases—Trump attacked Biden's past record and falsely claimed the former vice president has apologized for opposing the president's travel restrictions on China.

"He never did anything against China, Joe Biden," Trump claimed. "That is why they want him to win so badly." The president has sought to frame himself as tough on Beijing amid the coronavirus pandemic, for which he and his allies blame China. With the economy faltering, the president appears to be pivoting towards attacking China and engaging in culture wars to revitalize his campaign.

Biden has tried to bolster his own anti-China credentials amid growing international skepticism towards Beijing's coronavirus missteps, plus its unapologetic authoritarianism and human rights abuses.

The Biden campaign has said it supports the president's travel restrictions on China, announced on January 31. Trump has repeatedly claimed that this constituted a ban, but in reality it temporarily blocked entry by foreign nationals who had traveled in China within the previous 14 days.

Exceptions were made for immediate family of U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Americans returning from China were allowed to enter the U.S. after enhanced screening at select ports of entry and for 14 days after.

"Joe Biden opposed my decision and called it hysteria. Xenophobia. He doesn't know what the word means. Xenophobia. And fear-mongering," Trump told Saturday's sparsely-attended rally. "And then he apologized a month later. He said he was wrong. But he didn't say it."

Biden's campaign said in April that it supported travel restrictions on China. But no one on the Biden campaign—including the former vice president—has apologized for any previous criticism of the move.

Biden's accusations of Trump's "hysterical xenophobia" and "fear-mongering" were made in a January 31 appearance in Iowa. Biden's speech began shortly after Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar began a briefing to announce the restrictions, CNN noted, and the campaign said Biden was not aware of the new restrictions when he made his remarks.

Joe Biden, Donald Trump, 2020 election, fundraising
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks about reopening the country during a speech in Darby, Pennsylvania, on June 17, 2020. JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images/Getty