Donald Trump’s campaign announced that several political entities affiliated with the president and the Republican National Committee have raised $207.5m since Election Day alone, a $30m spike in just one day.
The outgoing president’s political organisation said on Wednesday it had picked up $170m since 3 November, mostly through small donations as the campaign blasts out emails and texts each day bearing the names of Mr Trump and his family members.
Some watchdog groups say that while the Trump team claims the funds are for the president’s ongoing legal fight challenging election results in several key swing states he lost to President-elect Joe Biden, it looks to them more like a post-presidency checking account.
Paul S. Ryan, a campaign finance lawyer at the non-partisan group Common Cause, has called what Mr Trump is collecting a “slush fund.”
Robert Reich, Labor Secretary under then-President Bill Clinton, agreed.
The monies raised since voters were cast in November amount to “nothing but a political slush fund for him when he leaves office,” he tweeted, adding: “The biggest con of the Don.”
Watch: A month after election, Trump continues to challenge votes despite clear Biden win
But senior Trump campaign aides claim the fundraising is all about the ongoing 2020 election challenges and future GOP congressional campaigns.
“These tremendous fundraising numbers show President Trump remains the leader and source of energy for the Republican Party, and that his supporters are dedicated to fighting for the rightful, legal outcome of the 2020 general election,” Bill Stepien, Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, said in a statement.
“It also positions President Trump to continue leading the fight to clean up our corrupt elections process in so many areas around the country, and to build on gains from the 2020 elections so we can take back the House and build on our Senate majority in 2022,” he said, even though which party controls the Senate will be decided by two Georgia runoffs in early January.
Mr Trump on Thursday continued contending that Democrats orchestrated a secret voter fraud plot in a handful of battleground states he narrowly lost to Mr Biden. Despite offering no evidence in public or even during court trials, the president has shown no signs of conceding the race or ending his legal challenges.
“This is very bad criminal stuff,” he told reporters during an Oval Office event. “So I just say this: We went through an election. At 10 o'clock, everybody said, ‘That was an easy victory for Trump.’ All of a sudden, the votes started disappearing – miraculously disappearing.”
The president continues ignoring the fact that vote-counters in most of the swing states were required, by law, to tally in-person ballots first – then count mailed-in ballots. Republicans tend to vote in person, while Democrats are more likely to choose mailed ballots, according to numerous studies.
Experts say that explains why Mr Biden pulled ahead as election night became 4 November.
Mr Trump’s ever-evolving fraud allegations now include claims his team has located enough fraudulent ballots in such a large number they would allow him to win enough states to secure the 270 electoral college votes needed to win.
Mr Biden is on track to win the Electoral College by the same tally Mr Trump did in 2016: 306-232.
“We found much of it, but we found far more votes than we need in almost all of these states,” he said. “And I think I can say in all of these states, far more votes than we need to win every one of them.”
Despite his claims, even GOP state officials in those battlegrounds are voting to certify the Biden wins.
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Nevertheless, Mr Trump is carrying on with his fraud campaign – which means he can continue raking in millions from his supporters as he will soon become a citizen who owes a slew of creditors $400m.
“I want to thank the 74 million-plus people that voted [for him]. … The largest amount of people that a sitting president has ever had,” he said. “And because the level of, of loyalty, I've never seen anything like it. All over the country, they know it was a fixed election. It was a rigged election. They know it, and I appreciate their support.”
But Mr Biden is moving ahead with plans for his presidency, saying Thursday he has asked the country’s top infectious disease official, Anthony Fauci, to remain on after he takes office.
He also announced more members of his staff and that of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.