Donald Trump's former campaign chief has been accused of spending like a "drunken sailor" amid reports that around 75 per cent of the president's reelection fund has already been emptied, with less than two months to go before November's poll.
Ed Rollins, a veteran Republican strategist and head of a pro-Trump Super Pac, hit out at Brad Parscale, who was demoted earlier this year, for what he said was financial mismanagement. Mr Rollin's said the spending had not produced results, with the president still well behind Democratic challenger Joe Biden in a host of major polls.
According to an analysis of federal campaign filings by the New York Times, the Trump campaign shelled out some $800 million between the start of 2019 and July 2020, a figure that was reportedly not disputed by Mr Rollins and Trump allies.
"If you spend $800 million and you're 10 points behind, I think you've got to answer the question 'What was the game plan?'" Mr Rollings told the publication. Several Trump campaign insiders interviewed by the Times also suggested that the reelection funding well could soon run dry.
Mr Parscale, who was dropped down to senior adviser after spending $325,000 on the president's Facebook page and overseeing a sparsely attended rally in Tulsa, hit back Mr Rollins, saying that all campaign spending had been approved by the Republican National Convention (RNC).
It is understood that a large chunk of the $800 million spent has gone on expenses such as $156,000 for airplanes to tow Trump banners, $6 million on "donor mementos" and up to $11 million for two ads at the Super Bowl, which commands tens of millions of viewers.
After weeks of tanking poll numbers, Mr Parscale was replaced in late July by Bill Stepien, who previously worked on Trump's 2016 victory before assuming a role in the White House as a political director. Campaign spending has been significantly reined in since Mr Stepien's appointment.
Mr Stepien has previously said the campaign has enough money to win and that "the most important thing I do every day is pay attention to the budget."
Starting an election campaign as the incumbent usually gives the president a financial advantage over the challenger. But Mr Biden's fundraising has been going from strength to strength over the course of the 2020 race.
Mr Biden has enjoyed staggering fundraising levels after signing a joint agreement with the Democratic National Committee in late April. Mr Trump has had a similar agreement with the RNC. throughout the entirety of the 2020 campaign season.
After signing the joint fundraising agreement in late April, Mr Biden’s campaign and the DNC raised $60.5 million compared to Mr Trump and the RNC raising in $61.7 million in the same period.
Mr Biden broke ahead in May, raising $80.8 million with the help of the DNC while Mr Trump and the GOP drew $74 million in donations.
Both campaigns reported major increases in their fundraising hauls in June, though Mr Biden was still on top with a reported $141 million — $10 million more than Mr Trump. In July, the Delaware-born lawmaker raked in $140 million, slightly behind the president's $165 million.
Mr Biden and the Democrats shattered the record for a one-month haul in August when they raised $364.5 million.