Trump Is Financially Ruining the Republican Party

Donald Trump is someone you should think carefully about hitching your financial fortunes to. The guy is a gifted carnival barker, no doubt. But when it comes to serious business, he is a bad bet. Many of his ventures, from vodka and steaks to casinos and “university” degrees, have flopped like dying fish. Declaring corporate bankruptcy seems to be one of his favorite hobbies. And even when he wriggles away from failure largely unscathed, the other parties involved aren’t always so fortunate. Where money is involved, anyone still foolish enough to crawl into bed with him should be prepared for the experience to end in tears.

Which leads me to gently note: Hey, Republican Party, pay attention! You are being herded toward potential financial ruin. The red flags are smacking you in the face. Wake up and smell the grift!

One might assume that a presidential nominee who generates as much devotion as Mr. Trump would be a financial boon to his party. One would be wrong. With Mr. Trump, everything is about Mr. Trump. Other candidates and committees are an afterthought, left to squabble over his scraps. Which might not be problematic if the party’s money machine were whirring along smoothly. But it is not. Whether we’re talking about the battle for Congress or the basic health of the state parties, the G.O.P. is going through a rough financial patch, fueled in no small part by the MAGA king and his minions.

The most recent campaign finance reports show that his campaign coffers are notably lighter than President Biden’s. Crunching the numbers, Axios noted recently, “The Biden campaign and the D.N.C. ended February with more than twice as much cash on hand ($97.5 million) as Trump and the R.N.C. ($44.8 million).” While the Republican base may be smitten with Mr. Trump, plenty of big-money donors are skittish about bankrolling his nonsense. The former president has been scrambling to close the gap, leering at potential funders as if they were contestants at the Miss Universe pageant.

Now with Mr. Trump the de facto nominee, some top donors will hold their noses and start paying their tributes. But how do you build a strong party when at least part of your money is going to the nominee’s eye-popping legal bills? Being multiply indicted costs big bucks (more than $100 million and counting in his case). The former president has avoided paying those expenses with his own money so far — court costs are for suckers! — instead relying on his fans’ donations to accounts related to his 2020 election-fraud lies. But those accounts are drying up. Fresh income streams must be found. Anyone need a $59.99 Bible?

Asked last month if she thought Republican voters would support the Republican National Committee footing Mr. Trump’s legal costs, Lara Trump, soon to be the committee’s co-chair, declared, “Absolutely.” I mean, what else is a good daughter-in-law supposed to say? Still, this possibility has raised enough eyebrows among donors that another Trump lackey, Chris LaCivita, who now oversees the R.N.C.’s operations, has vowed that committee funds will not be used for such.

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