Trump Reelection Expenses Already Near $1 Billion, $2M on Tulsa Rally Alone

The re-election campaign of President Donald Trump, the Republican National Committee (RNC) and two committees associated with both have all spent over $983 million since 2017, including nearly $2 million on Trump's June 20 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The numbers, disclosed in recently released Federal Election Commission filings, mark an unprecedented amount of spending this early into a presidential campaign. Comparatively, Trump's 2016 campaign cost $878 million, according to The Washington Post.

Trump began raising and spending money for his re-election in 2017, much earlier than past incumbents. Trump's campaign alone has spent $240 million thus far, compared to the $165 million spent by Trump's Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.

In June, the Trump campaign spent at least $41 million on producing and placing campaign marketing, whereas Biden's campaign spent at least $27 million on the same during the same period.

The SMG-BOK Center rented for Trump's Tulsa rally cost the president and his funders $537,705. The event's costs also included over $670,000 paid to an event management company called the Arcus Group, over $425,000 for audiovisual services from a company named LMG and nearly $150,000 in masks and other medical supplies from AW Medical Supplies, according to The Hill.

The setup for the Tulsa rally included an outdoor stage that was left unused as well as unused overflow areas with large screens for viewing Trump's speech.

Newsweek reached out to the Trump campaign for comment.

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President Donald Trump arrives at a campaign rally at the BOK Center, June 20, 2020 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Win McNamee/Getty

The Trump campaign and the RNC have said their massive spending has helped build a staff of over 1,500 people with improved data capabilities to help win more states in 2020. The RNC is also paying legal costs to fight court battles over voting-access in several states.

But polls suggest that Trump's massive spending hasn't translated into a commanding lead over Biden less than four months from the election.

A July 13 poll found Biden nine points ahead of Trump, a July 15 poll found Biden leading Trump nationally by 10 points and several July 14 polls found Trump trailing Biden by anywhere from five to nine points in the key battleground states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Florida and Arizona.

Biden is also currently polling better than Hillary Clinton was at this point in the race in 2016—he also reportedly has five times the amount of cash she had at this point. However, YouGov International Projects Director Marcus Roberts told Newsweek that at this point in 2016, Clinton supporters also had 13 more percentage points of enthusiasm for their candidate than Biden's supporters currently have for him.

Clinton also had more "negative baggage," according to Republican strategist Alex Conant, leaving independents more likely to take a chance on Trump, something they may not do again now that they've actually seen Trump in office.

Despite Trump's spending and performance in the polls, Michael Malbin, co-founder and director of the Campaign Finance Institute, said that Trump's massive spending can never match a sitting president's potential influence while serving as commander of the Oval Office.

"Nothing compares to the daily impression he's making, with his handling of the pandemic and with the state of the economy," Malbin told The Washington Post. "If those turn around, his support will turn around. If they don't, no amount of advertising will help."