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Campaign woes pile up for Trump

Trump has a mere $1.3 million in cash on hand, according to reports filed Monday with the Federal Election Commission.

Published: 21st June 2016 09:29 PM  |   Last Updated: 21st June 2016 09:29 PM   |  A+A-

GOP 2016 Trump_Rich

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump |AP

By AFP

WASHINGTON: Republican White House hopeful Donald Trump's unprecedented financial deficit heading into his general election push is just the latest in a string of setbacks and self-inflicted wounds that have plunged his unconventional campaign into disarray.

The latest news cycle unquestionably has been unkind to the provocative billionaire.

He fired campaign manager Corey Lewandowski on Monday, seeking a reboot as he prepares to go head to head with Hillary Clinton, the Democratic flagbearer whose campaign is well ahead of Trump's in terms of finances and organization.

He has been hammered for making controversial statements after the Orlando massacre, including about Muslims, and for saying it would have been a "beautiful sight" if more people at the Florida club were armed in order to shoot back at the attacker.

His numbers have slid in several polls, and Republican leaders have continued to express ambivalence about their presumptive nominee.

Trump's small war chest reinforces perceptions that his campaign lags woefully behind Clinton's, which plans to spend more than $100 million on a television advertising blitz ahead of the November 8 election.

Trump has a mere $1.3 million in cash on hand, according to reports filed Monday with the Federal Election Commission.

That sum represents an unprecedented low in recent history for a major presidential campaign.

Clinton's campaign -- backed by big donors -- had more than $42 million in the bank as of May 31, its report showed.

Trump pushed back Tuesday, insisting he himself could line his campaign pockets with "unlimited" funds.

"If need be, there could be unlimited 'cash on hand' as I would put up my own money, as I have already done through the primaries, spending over $50 million," he said in a statement.

"Our campaign is leaner and more efficient, like our government should be."

He also insisted his campaign was prepared to embrace a new tone as it geared for battle with the Clinton machine.

"I think it's time now for a different kind of a campaign" than the one that helped win the primary race, Trump told Fox late Monday as he justified Lewandowski's departure.

Revolt?

Trump also brushed off the difficulty he has had in getting Republican leaders on board with his campaign.

"They will probably eventually come on. Honestly, if they don't, it's just fine. I can win it either way," he told NBC Tuesday.

"I may be better winning it the opposite way than the more traditional way."

But a revolt of sorts appeared to be brewing at next month's Republican National Convention, one that could complicate his efforts to win the nomination.

As many as 400 of the party's 2,472 delegates who formally elect the Republican nominee have expressed support for a movement to stop Trump, according to the Washington Post.

Organizers of the anti-Trump movement were aiming to draw bound delegates -- who must vote in line with primary results -- to the cause by insisting they be allowed to vote their conscience and select whomever they please at the July convention, according to the paper.

Trump's performance in the polls is another sign of the challenges he faces in November. He trails Clinton nationally by some 5.8 points, according to the RealClearPolitics average of recent polls. They were neck and neck in late May.

One positive sign for Trump: he leads Clinton by 51 percent to 43 percent on handling the economy, and 48 percent to 45 percent on handling the fight on terror, according to a new CNN poll.

But Republican strategist Rory Cooper, who helped spearheaded the "never Trump" movement earlier this year, warned that Trump's poor fundraising report and "extraordinarily incompetent" campaign could not only lose the White House in November but put House and Senate seats in jeopardy.

"Even if the RNC (Republican National Committee) were to write off the Trump debacle, it would still be a cinder block dragging the entire Republican infrastructure underwater," Cooper wrote on the website Medium.

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