“Trump Embraces the Traditional Fund-Raising He Once Shunned”

NYT:

About 200 bundlers from across the country are expected to gather Tuesday at the Trump International Hotel for a series of meetings and workshops about the campaign’s new fund-raising program. Vice President Mike Pence will address the group. Brad Parscale, President Trump’s campaign manager, will play host. Stephen A. Schwarzman, the Wall Street billionaire, has R.S.V.P.’d yes.


The group will be divided into tiers, based on success in raising money. The “Trump Train” donors, or those who raise $25,000, will be given a lapel pin and access to a national retreat and leadership dinners. “Club 45” members, or those who raise $45,000, will get all of that, as well as monthly conference calls with Republican Party leaders. And the “Builders Club,” or those bundlers who raise $100,000 or more, will be given access to national campaign events.


It is the kind of traditional campaign fund-raising apparatus that Mr. Trump thumbed his nose at during his 2016 run. And it involves some donors who only grudgingly accepted him once he was the Republican presidential nominee.


“I don’t need anybody’s money,” Mr. Trump said after announcing his candidacy in June 2015. “I’m using my own money. I’m not using the lobbyists. I’m not using donors. I don’t care. I’m really rich.” That fall, he wrote on Twitter, “This whole Super PAC scam is very unfair to a person like me who has disavowed all PAC’s & is self-funding.”

Mr. Trump did not solicit cash for his bootstrap campaign until a year later.


The tiered bundler system that Mr. Trump’s campaign has built — modeled after President George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign and complete with super PACs supporting it from the outside — is the most tangible example yet of Mr. Trump’s ceding to the reality of his second presidential race. This time, he is a candidate of the establishment, complete with bundlers who are lobbyists, even while he tries to run as if he is still the marauding outsider at the gates.

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