US President Donald Trump, facing the possibility of a cash crunch, said yesterday that he would spend "whatever it takes" of his own money to finance his 2020 presidential campaign against Joe Biden if he had to.
The Republican president, who trails Mr Biden in opinion polls ahead of the November 3 election, told reporters before leaving for Florida that the campaign had double or triple what it had in 2016, but he would spend his own money if needed.
"If I have to, I would," Mr Trump said.
The New York Times reported that Mr Trump's initial financial supremacy over Mr Biden earlier this year had evaporated, and that of the $1.1bn his campaign and the party raised from the beginning of 2019 through July, more than $800m already had been spent.
Mr Biden and the Democratic National Committee raised $364.5m in August, shattering the monthly record for fundraising by a presidential campaign. Mr Trump and Republicans have not announced their August haul.
Mr Trump, a wealthy real estate developer before entering politics, was asked how much he might have to spend from his own personal fortune. He had to dip into his own money in 2016 to help pay for his campaign.
"Whatever it takes. We have to win. This is the most important election in the history of our country," he said.
Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien told reporters on a campaign press call yesterday that "we are now carefully monitoring the budget."
Mr Stepien said the campaign will have more resources to spend than it had in Trump's 2016 victory and that "we're very comfortable and confident" in how money is now being spent.
Mr Trump, under pressure for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, yesterday was travelling to two states critical to his re-election: Florida and North Carolina.
With many Republicans pointing fingers at Mr Stepien's predecessor Brad Parscale, who stepped down in July, for spending heavily earlier in the campaign, Mr Trump defended him in a tweet. The president said that due to the virus, his campaign was forced to spend a lot earlier this year to counter what he felt was negative news coverage.
"We did, and are doing, a GREAT job, and have a lot of money left over, much more than 2016," he wrote.
Meanwhile, Mr Trump and Mr Biden have launched attacks on each other. Mr Trump described Mr Biden as a threat to the economy and "stupid", while Mr Biden took aim at the president's reported disparaging remarks about US war dead. Mr Trump said: "Biden and his very liberal running mate [Kamala Harris], the most liberal person in Congress by the way - is not a competent person in my opinion - would destroy this country and would destroy this economy."
Mr Trump has frequently referred to the former vice president as "Sleepy Joe."
The president once again pushed back against a report in The Atlantic that states he had referred to fallen US soldiers as "suckers" and "losers", calling it "a hoax". The story has dominated news coverage for days and is threatening Mr Trump's support among veterans and military members, key voters. "There's nobody that has more respect for not only our military, but for people that gave their lives in the military," Mr Trump said.
Mr Biden cited the reported remarks while campaigning in the electoral battleground state of Pennsylvania.
Referring to his son Beau, who served in Iraq and died of brain cancer in 2015, Mr Biden said: "Beau wasn't a loser or a sucker. He served with heroes."
His visit to Pennsylvania kicked off a flurry of travel to battleground states this week by both men as some opinion polls show the race tightening.
With Covid-19 and civil unrest over racism and police brutality commanding attention, Mr Biden is seeking to maintain his edge by painting the Republican president as an ineffectual leader who thrives on chaos and has left the working class behind.