Donald Trump, Low on Cash, Meets With Elon Musk

Donald Trump, Low on Cash, Meets With Elon Musk

Donald Trump met with a group of prospective donors on Sunday, among them Elon Musk, The New York Times reported.

The group gathered at Palm Beach, Florida, per the publication; it is unclear if the billionaire has decided to donate to the GOP frontrunner’s campaign.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Musk is the third richest man in the world with a net worth of $197.7 billion. Since 2009, the SpaceX CEO has donated less than $1 million in the political realm, per the Federal Election Commission. Musk previously claimed that before 2022, he never voted for a Republican, but has since espoused Republican politics, especially through his platform X (formerly Twitter). In 2022, the billionaire tweeted he would back Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (who has since dropped out of the Republican primary) if he ran for president in 2024.

Trump’s PACs spent $50 million on the former president’s legal defense in 2023.

Due to the the multiple civil and criminal cases leveled against Trump in the last two years, his legal bills have skyrocketed. The Times previously reported that Trump’s PACs spent $50 million on the former president’s legal defense in 2023. In August of last year, Save America found that it had burned through the majority of its cash-on-hand on Trump and his associates’ legal defenses.

The Times reported at the time that Save America had requested a $60 million refund from another Trump-affiliated group to keep itself afloat.

In February, a $454 million penalty was levied against Trump in his New York civil fraud case. After being denied a $100 million bond, his attorneys said in the filing that he would likely have to sell properties to shore up the cash for the full bond amount unless an emergency stay is granted. The civil penalty is separate from the $83.3 million sum ordered in the defamation case from writer E. Jean Carroll, on top of the four simultaneous criminal cases currently underway against the former president.

Trump’s campaign war chest is far smaller than Biden’s, putting the former president at a disadvantage in a likely general election rematch between the two men. Trump has thus far struggled to attract large donors for his 2024 bid, with many of them sitting on the sidelines or supporting Nikki Haley.

President Joe Biden continues to beat Trump in garnering cash — Biden’s campaign ended January with nearly $56 million compared to Trump, whose campaign had about $30 million available.