Trump Is Either in Debt or Already Running for Re-Election

Leigh Ann Caldwell
Trump campaign still asking for more donations

Thirty-six hours after Donald Trump won the presidential election, his campaign committee is still asking supporters for money, calling into question the amount of debt the campaign racked up in the final days of the race.

An email to supporters with the subject line "Thank You," has a bright red "Contribute" button at the bottom of the email.

Campaign finance law says a candidate can continue to raise money after Election Day to pay off any debts or to raise money for re-election.

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Debt is a possibility. At the end of the last fundraising report on Oct. 20, Trump had an uninspiring $16 million cash on hand and was also $2 million in debt.

Trump gave himself a $10 million infusion on Oct. 21 to help carry him through the final, expensive days of campaigning.

A disclaimer on his website says the first $2,700 donated "will be allocated first to 2016 General Election Debt Retirement." The next campaign finance reports detailing Trump's spending and debt will be released on Dec. 8.

Brendan Fischer with the Campaign Legal Center wonders why Trump would raise money to pay off any debt since he has contributed just $66 million to his own campaign — despite publicly and repeatedly saying he would contribute $100 million to his candidacy.

"Given these facts, it is surprising that Trump appears to be asking his supporters to pay down his campaign debts rather than paying out of his own pocket," Fischer said.

The alternative: He's already thinking about 2020. His website also says that a second $2,700 "will be designated to the 2020 Primary Election."

The fundraising email is from Trump's Make America Great Again Committee, a joint fundraising committee between Trump and the Republican National Committee in which the Trump campaign receives 80 percent of the donations. It's the committee that raised most of Trump's small-dollar donations.