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President turns crisis into an opportunity to squeeze funding

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US President Donald Trump. Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

US President Donald Trump. Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

REUTERS

US President Donald Trump. Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

As the House launched a formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, his re-election campaign immediately tried to turn the moment into an opportunity, bombarding his supporters with fundraising appeals.

The asks began as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi prepared her announcement that she would launch an impeachment inquiry. The emails, texts, tweets and a video directed his supporters to a new Republican portal designed to capitalise on Mr Trump's army of online donors.

"The Democrats thrive on silencing and intimidating his supporters, like YOU, Friend. They want to take YOUR VOTE away," read an email to supporters. "President Trump wants to know who stood with him when it mattered most."

Such appeals - often capitalising on newsworthy moments for the president - have been a mainstay of Mr Trump's fundraising strategy and have fuelled his re-election effort.

With the help of small-dollar donors angered by the sense that the president is being treated unfairly, Mr Trump's re-election effort has amassed a record-breaking war chest, turning political attacks against the president into peak fundraising moments.

Mr Trump's ability to tap into his online donors has reshaped the donor base for the Republican Party, which has historically leaned on wealthy donors, and raised the stakes for Democratic presidential candidates to show they can cultivate their own small-dollar base to compete with Mr Trump's.

GOP officials have said the committees raising money for Mr Trump's re-election have drawn more money from digital fundraising appeals in the second quarter of 2019 than they did over the entire first half of 2018 - highlighting his ability to draw and sustain support from donors giving less than $200 (€182).

The appeals called on his supporters to join an "Official Impeachment Defence Task Force" made up of "only President Trump's most LOYAL supporters", with suggested donations ranging from $5 to the maximum $2,800, or $45 to show support for the 45th president.

"Nancy just called for Impeachment. WITCH HUNT! I need you on my Impeachment Defence Team," read a text message sent to supporters shortly after Ms Pelosi's announcement.

Irish Independent