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Levin writes: "One of the great myths that propelled Donald Trump into the White House in 2016 was that he was a genius businessman who would use his singular negotiating skills to restore America's so-called greatness. "

Donald J. Trump speaking in front of one of his planes in Columbus, Ohio, in March. (photo: Mark Makela/The New York Times)
Donald J. Trump speaking in front of one of his planes in Columbus, Ohio, in March. (photo: Mark Makela/The New York Times)

The Trump Campaign Reportedly Blew $1 Billion on Private Jet Rides, Trump Properties, and Don Jr.'s Shitty Book

By Bess Levin, Vanity Fair

22 October 20

Now it can’t even afford to air ads in key swing states.

ne of the great myths that propelled Donald Trump into the White House in 2016 was that he was a genius businessman who would use his singular negotiating skills to restore America’s so-called greatness. In reality, he was a total failure who put six companies into bankruptcy and only did well for himself playing the part of a successful businessman on TV (and using multimillion dollar losses to basically never pay taxes). Of course, Trump never told supporters that their savior nearly went broke due to a series of very bad business decisions, just like his campaign hasn’t tweeted about the fact that it’s strapped for cash after blowing most of its money on legal fees, Trump properties, private jet rides, and his eldest son’s book.

The Associated Press reports that despite having raised over $1 billion since 2017, the president’s reelection campaign has “set a lot of it on fire.” One of the biggest tells is that Joe Biden and his Democratic allies are expected to outspend Trump and the GOP by more than 2-to-1 on ads in the final days of the campaign, reportedly because Trump just doesn’t have the cash:

On Monday, the firm Medium Buying reported Trump was canceling ads in Wisconsin; Minnesota, which Trump had hoped to flip; and Ohio, which went for Trump in 2016 but now appears to be a tight contest. It’s a reversal from May, when Biden’s campaign was strapped for cash and [former campaign manager Brad] Parscale ominously compared the Trump campaign to a “Death Star” that was about to “start pressing FIRE for the first time.”

Trump is now in a position that’s virtually unthinkable for an incumbent president, said Travis Ridout, codirector of the Wesleyan Media Project, which tracks advertising spending. “Advertising obviously isn’t everything. But we do think ads matter for a couple percentage points in a presidential race. And it’s just not a good sign for the Trump campaign,” Ridout said.

Where the campaign has dropped major money on advertising, it might as well have put the cash through an industrial shredder for all the impact it made. In January, Trump spent $10 million on a Super Bowl ad when he didn’t even have a Democratic challenger, in a pointless pissing contest with Mike Bloomberg. Last fall, he dropped $250,000 on an ad that ran during Game 7 of the World Series, after the booing against him reached “almost 100 decibels” during Game 5. The campaign also sunk $1.6 million on TV ads in the Washington, D.C., media market—where he received a humiliating 4% of the vote in 2016 and has no chance of winning in 2020—so Trump could gaze adoringly at himself during Fox News commercial breaks. Additionally, Parscale reportedly purchased “a fleet of luxury vehicles“; surrogates were flown on private jets; and it wouldn’t be a Trump operation if the candidate wasn’t charging his own campaign to stay at his properties to the tune of more than $7.4 million since 2017. “They spent their money on unnecessary overhead, lifestyles-of-the-rich-and-famous activity by the campaign staff and vanity ads,” Mike Murphy, a Republican consultant, told the AP. “You could literally have 10 monkeys with flamethrowers go after the money, and they wouldn’t have burned through it as stupidly.”

Naturally, money also went toward legal fees ($38.7 million), merchandise ($35.2 million), and relocating the Republican National Convention after a fight with North Carolina’s governor over coronavirus safety measures. And obviously donors must have known six-figures worth of their contributions would be put toward the first son’s crack at literature:

Nearly $100,000 [was] spent on copies of Donald Trump Jr.’s book Triggered, which helped propel it to the top of the New York Times bestsellers list.

Meanwhile, $310 million can’t be accounted for because it went through limited liability firms, which is precisely the amount of sketchy one should expect from Team Trump. And while campaign manager Bill Stepien insisted that money is not an issue, donors seem to be growing suspicious about whether their money is in good hands:

Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, recently donated $75 million to Preserve America, a new pro-Trump super political action committee that is not controlled by Trump World political operatives. One of the reasons the group was founded in August is because there is deep distrust among some GOP donors that the existing pro-Trump organizations would spend the money wisely, according to a Republican strategist with direct knowledge of the matter.

Did Trump throw a massive hissy fit during his interview with Lesley Stahl?

It definitely sounds like it!

President Donald Trump abruptly ended a solo interview with CBS News’ 60 Minutes Tuesday and did not return for an appearance he was supposed to tape with Vice President Mike Pence, according to multiple sources familiar with what happened. After camera crews set up at the White House on Monday, Trump sat down with host Lesley Stahl for about 45 minutes on Tuesday before he abruptly ended the interview and told the network he believed they had enough material to use, according to two sources.

Later, the president—late of ignoring the pandemic, refusing to wear a mask, and contracting the virus through total fault of his own—tweeted what appears to be a surreptitiously recorded video of Stahl not wearing a mask, which is definitely something someone who’s confident in how their interview went does:

Incidentally, Stahl had COVID-19 in May and recovered from it, which, according to the president, should make her immune.

Mitch McConnell warns White House to avoid stimulus deal before election

Why would the GOP rush to get much needed aid out to Americans affected by the pandemic when it could fuck with Democrats for sport for a few more weeks?

Prospects for an economic relief package in the next two weeks dimmed markedly on Tuesday after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) revealed that he has warned the White House not to strike an agreement with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi before the the November 3 election. In remarks at a closed-door Senate GOP lunch, McConnell told his colleagues that Pelosi (D-Calif.) is not negotiating in good faith with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and any deal they reach could disrupt the Senate’s plans to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court next week. Republicans have voiced concerns that a stimulus deal could splinter the party and exacerbate divisions at a time when they are trying to rally behind the Supreme Court nominee. The comments were confirmed by three people who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss them.

McConnell’s attempted intervention came as Pelosi and Mnuchin continued negotiating over the roughly $2 trillion economic relief package. Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said the “conversation provided more clarity and common ground as they move closer to an agreement.” But no deal can become law without McConnell’s blessing, and his direct warning to the White House imperils the chances of any bill becoming law in the next two weeks.

As the Washington Post notes, a poll released Tuesday showed overwhelming support for a stimulus package, so it makes sense that McConnell would want to avoid doing something Americans actually want. “The recovery has slowed and without more help it is at risk of backsliding. Neither the virus nor the economic damages it has wrought are gone, and policymakers would be making a serious mistake to act as if they were,” Adam Ozimek, chief economist at Upwork, told the Post. your social media marketing partner
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