Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2015 had no pollster, rapid-response team or fundraiser. A bare-bones staff fueled by pizza and energy drinks toiled in a makeshift office at Trump Tower. His opponents vastly outspent him — and lost.
But as president, Trump’s campaign machine has dramatically escalated, powered by a historically large war chest of donations large and small that has given him a head start over the eventual Democratic nominee.
At this point in the last election, Trump’s campaign employed 19 consultants. Now, there are more than 200. When Trump had all but locked up the nomination by May 2016, he had spent $63 million. Thus far, pro-Trump committees have spent $531 million.
Trump’s overflowing coffers have allowed him to spend lavishly early in the race. For instance, the committees recently launched $10 million ad offense targeting Democrats, including former vice president Joe Biden.
The spending has also created a financial boon for a political-consulting class he once shunned.
Since 2017, nearly $92 million has flowed to dozens of firms providing political consulting services to Trump’s 2020 reelection machine, according to an analysis of campaign spending by The Washington Post.