Donald Trump is wrapping up the most chaotic week of his presidency by rolling out a major new donor push — one of his most serious steps yet to prepare for a 2020 reelection campaign.
Trump will appear before big GOP givers at his Mar-a-Lago resort on Saturday for the launch of a fundraising initiative that mimics the famed George W. Bush “Pioneer” program, according to three senior Republicans familiar with the plans. As with Bush, the president will reward donors who’ve bundled thousands of dollars in contributions, giving them an entree to exclusive dinners, political briefings, and future retreats.
Under the plan, which is intended to provide a fundraising infrastructure that was lacking from Trump’s 2016 campaign, donors who raise $25,000 will join the “Trump Train” and those who bundle $45,000 will be part of the “45 Club.” The program, which will jointly benefit Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee, will introduce higher class levels for larger dollar amounts in the future. Funds raised will also go toward the party’s 2018 efforts.
The fundraiser, one of several big donor events Trump will host this weekend at Mar-a-Lago, shows how Trump is slowly building a 2020 campaign apparatus even as he endures the most tumultuous stretch of his presidency. While top advisers bolt the White House and a special counsel zeroes in on the president’s ties to Russia, Trump is tapping a new campaign manager, taking steps to fend off would-be primary challengers, and lining up travel to critical 2020 states.
He has told friends privately that he wants to raise a massive amount of money in the months to come. Plans for the bundling program have been in the works for weeks.
“Just because the Democrats and many in the media refuse to get over 2016 doesn’t mean President Trump should take his focus off 2020,” said Jason Miller, a former senior Trump campaign aide who remains in touch with the president. “It’s important that President Trump continue to lay the groundwork for a strong reelection campaign because he’s not going to be able to drain the swamp overnight.”