New campaign filings show President Donald Trump spent $2.4 million on T-shirts, mugs, banners and stickers, and another $728,000 on logoed hats during December – a month after he was elected. The purchases continue a trend that began in the early days of the 2016 presidential campaign during which Trump spent far more than other candidates – including Hillary Clinton – on promotional merchandise. Famously, in fact, from June 2015 through September 2016, Trump’s campaign spent just $1.8 million on polling and $3.2 million on his “Make America Great Again” hats, according to published reports.
Overall, between November 29 and December 31 of last year, Trump doled out $32 million for various reasons, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission. Some of the money was sent to pay vendors, legal fees and campaign office rent, while other funds were directed to help build donor, volunteer and voter databases. Trump’s committees spent $1.7 million on data- and digital-related efforts, including email marketing. Approximately $7 million was sent to the Republican National Committee and state party committees from Trump’s joint funds.
One apparent reason for Trump’s continued spending on promotional items is his desire to keep an active political campaign structure in place, even as he’s serving in the White House. According to Politico, Trump’s Manhattan-based campaign headquarters will remain open going forward with a small staff. Traditionally, most presidents allow their party’s national committee to take control of their political operations post-election.
Filings show Trump’s committees took in a combined $11 million in December and finished 2016 with about $16 million in the bank, according to Politico. Hillary Clinton’s campaign and fundraising committees raised $2.8 million in December and spent just short of $4 million. The Clinton campaign has about $3.3 million in cash on hand.