Donald Trump seems to have the lost the confidence of his biggest donor, himself. After averaging $2 million a month, he gave his campaign a measly $31,000 in the first three weeks of October, according to filings with the election regulatory body on Thursday.
The Republican nominee raised $28.9 million from other sources. But he lost that battle - which is used as another yardstick to measure electoral prospects - to his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, who brought in nearly twice as much, $57.2 million, over the same period.
With less than two weeks to go for polling, both campaigns are expected to go full steam ahead, deploying every penny and person at their disposal and Trump has been under pressure to raise more, or put in more of his own money.
He has boasted about investing $100 million in his presidential campaign, but seemed elusive when a CNN reporter grilled him about it on Thursday. He wanted to move on to the next question, saying he will speak about figures when the time comes.
Even his children, who are known to have contributed to other campaigns before, have not been much help, The Daily Beast reported after a review of filings with the Federal Election Commission, the regulatory body. Eric Trump figures with $376.20 as “meeting expense: meals”. Don Trump Jr and Ivanka Trump, who contributed to the campaign of Hillary Clinton in 2007, hadn’t made any donations at all so far, evidently.
Trump appears to have been abandoned completely by the Republican party’s biggest donors, who have given up on him, despite a recent uptick in his polling numbers, and are giving money to candidates in the race for Congress.
Trump is seemingly unperturbed. On Thursday, he said, “In just thinking to myself right now, we should just cancel the election and just give it to Trump, right?…Why are we even having it for? What are we having it for? Her policies are so bad. Boy, do we have a big difference.”
At the same time, he has ratcheted up talk of a “rigged election”. He tweeted about “vote flipping” in Texas, a solidly Republican state where Clinton has been surging in polls, as she has been in other such states such as Arizona and Utah.
Critics and opponents have said Trump is instigating supporters to intimidate voters in some areas, specially minority voters, by raising fears about “rigging”, which experts have said are not supported by evidence.
“When you hear folks talking about a global conspiracy and saying that this election is rigged, understand that they are trying to get you to stay home,” Michelle Obama, the First Lady, said at her first campaign appearance with Clinton.
“They are trying to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter, that the outcome has already been determined and that you shouldn’t even bother to make your voice heard.”
The campaign rhetoric is likely to get sharper closer to election day on November 8, in a race that appears to have tightened in recent days. Clinton’s lead over Trump has shrunk to 5.2% in the RealClearPolitics average of polls, and FiveThirtyEight downgraded her chances of winning from over 90% recently to 81.2% on Friday.