Australian Miss Universe defends Trump
WASHINGTON: Donald Trump has repeatedly said he will spend $100 million or more of his own money on his presidential bid. Yet even with a fresh donation, he is $34 million short of that promise. The Republican nominee gave his campaign another $10 million, a Federal Election Commission report filed late Friday showed. At rallies earlier in the day, he told supporters he’d contributed anew. “Boy, am I spending a lot of my money,” he said in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
He has now made a personal investment of about $66 million over the course of the primary and general elections. The latest infusion comes as Democrat Hillary Clinton hold a striking cash advantage over Trump, FEC reports filed Thursday show. As of last week, Clinton and her Democratic partners had $153 million in the bank, more than double the resources as on the Trump side.
Trump, a New York businessman who says he is worth billions of dollars, invested heavily throughout his GOP primary race. Then, during the general election, he slowed his personal contributions to about $2 million per month. Trump’s giving has been tied to email appeals to his supporters, promising to “match” their donations up to $2 million.
He stopped making those solicitations through most of October, according to Tom Sather, senior director of research at the email data solutions firm Return Path. The firm tracks every email from political candidates. Trump’s campaign recently resumed the “matching” solicitations. “I will TRIPLE MATCH any amount you can contribute today,” stated an email message to his supporters.
The new gift represents the most that Trump has put into his bid since the month of March, when he loaned his campaign $11.5 million. Trump later zeroed out all of his loans, converting them into contributions that cannot be repaid. His personal investment shrinks when accounting for about $9 million in campaign cash that has returned to his family and businesses. That money has largely gone to the holding company of his private jet, but the campaign also paid for rent at Trump Tower, catering at his restaurants and even the Trump Ice bottled water that has popped up at his events.
And Trump’s Friday aid follows weeks where Clinton actually chipped in more than he did to cover political expenses. In the first 19 days of the month, Clinton herself offset $87,000 worth of campaign expenses while Trump covered about $33,000 of his. Trump gave about $31,000 through the first 19 days of October, the period covered in the filing released Thursday, all of which went to cover rent and payroll. Trump also gave an additional $2,600 on Oct. 20, other filings show. Trump has said repeatedly, during rallies and media interviews, that he will spend $100 million of his own money. In a CNN interview on Wednesday, he said he was “prepared to go much higher than that.”
During a Friday rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, he lightly revised his words, saying he would give “maybe close to or over” the $100 million mark. “There’s something nice about that,” Trump said of his personal campaign contributions – quickly adding that it wouldn’t be so nice if he lost the election after spending so much.
Australian Miss Universe speaks out
Meanwhile, an Australian former Miss Universe said yesterday that Donald Trump had always treated her with respect after a video emerged of an embarrassing exchange between the pair in Sydney in 2011. Jennifer Hawkins won the pageant in 2004, when it was owned by Trump. Trump, now the Republican presidential nominee, accuses her in the video as he addresses 10,000 people at the National Achievers Congress in Sydney of initially refusing to introduce him. She blames a “miscommunication” with her management.
The video, released by Huffington Post, shows Hawkins raising her forearm between she and Trump as Trump kisses her on the cheek. He gets laughs from the crowd with a double entendre and she tells Trump that he has embarrassed her before leaving the stage. Hawkins, who Trump has described as his favorite Miss Universe, is a successful businesswoman who has praised Trump as an inspiration.
“Donald and his family, I have to say, have always been respectful to me, and that’s all I can really say,” the 32-year-old said in Melbourne on Saturday as she was questioned by media in her role as an Australian department store ambassador. “I’ve seen what’s been going on in the news, but really what is there for me to say other than that he respected me during that time in my life and I have a lot of respect for him because of that,” she added, referring to the 2004 pageant.
Hawkins has canceled media interviews since early October, when video emerged of Trump engaged in vulgar conversation about women before an “Access Hollywood” appearance in 2005. Trump told the Sydney audience in September 2011 that he had prepared to denigrate Hawkins in his speech if she had not turned up to introduce him. He said Hawkins owed him for her success. “Get even with people. If they screw you, screw them back 10 times as hard and I’ll give you an example: Jennifer Hawkins,” Trump said. Hawkins’ management did not respond to a request from The Associated Press for comment. – Agencies