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The Journal Gazette

Monday, April 15, 2019 1:00 am

politics

Trump rakes in $30 million

News services

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump's reelection campaign is set to report that it raised more than $30 million in the first quarter of 2019, edging out his top two Democratic rivals combined, according to figures it provided to The Associated Press.

The haul brings the campaign's cash on hand to $40.8 million, an unprecedented war chest for an incumbent president this early in a campaign.

The Trump campaign said nearly 99% of its donations were of $200 or less, with an average donation of $34.26.

Trump's fundraising ability was matched by the Republican National Committee, which brought in $45.8 million in the first quarter – its best non-election year total. Combined, the pro-Trump effort is reporting $82 million in the bank, with $40.8 million belonging to the campaign alone.

Trump formally launched his re-election effort just hours after taking office in 2017, earlier than any incumbent has in previous years. By contrast, former President Barack Obama launched his 2012 effort in April 2011 and had under $2 million on hand at this point in the campaign. Obama went on to raise more than $720 million for his re-election.

Added protection sought for Omar

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Sunday that she has asked the U.S. Capitol Police to increase its protection of Rep. Ilhan Omar after President Trump tweeted a video of the Minnesota Democrat spliced with footage of the burning twin towers.

Typically, only members of congressional leadership have designated Capitol Police security details.

Trump's tweet on Friday prompted accusations from some Democrats that he was engaging in Islamophobia, inciting violence and politicizing one of America's gravest tragedies. The tweet came after conservative media outlets last week circulated a snippet of a recent speech made by the freshman Democrat, one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress.

In the speech, Omar had used the phrase “some people did something” in reference to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, language that conservatives argued played down the significance of the event.

Gillibrand lags rivals in money

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., raised $3 million in the first quarter of the year, according to her campaign, a figure that lags behind the hauls brought in by her competitors for the 2020 presidential nomination.

Gillibrand has more than $10 million cash on hand, ranking her fourth in the Democratic field, her campaign's communications director, Meredith Kelly, said Sunday. That number includes a $9.6 million transfer from Gillibrand's Senate campaign account.

In a memo to supporters on Sunday obtained by the Washington Post, Gillibrand's campaign said there was “no question” that its fundraising in the first quarter “was adversely impacted by certain establishment donors – and many online – who continue to punish Kirsten for standing up for her values and for women.”

Gillibrand was the first senator to call for Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., to resign amid sexual misconduct allegations in 2017, and several top Democratic donors have openly criticized her over the move.

Trump aide scolds lawmakers' quest

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Sunday that she doesn't believe members of Congress are “smart enough” to examine President Trump's tax returns, pushing back against Democrats' demands for information on the president's finances.

House Democrats have given the Trump administration a hard deadline of April 23 to turn over the president's tax returns.

In an interview with “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace, Sanders said: “Frankly, Chris, I don't think Congress – particularly not this group of congressmen and women – are smart enough to look through the thousands of pages that I would assume that President Trump's taxes will be. My guess is most of them don't do their own taxes, and I certainly don't trust them to look through the decades of success that the president has and determine anything.”

She said the Democratic effort puts “every American” in jeopardy. “If they can single out one, they can single out everybody,” she said.