President Trump told Piers Morgan last week that he "fully" intends to run for re-election in 2020. "I don't see anybody" who can beat me, Trump told Morgan in the Daily Mail interview. "They do not have the right candidate." Now the New York Times reports that new campaign finance filings show that Trump is putting more than just words behind the early effort. Trump has raised an aggressive $88 million over the last 18 months for his re-election campaign, which amounts to a "dramatic head start" over his Democratic rivals. It's unusual for a sitting president to engage in such fundraising in the first two years of his term, notes the Center for Public Integrity, but Trump is rewriting the strategy book.
The campaign is spending at a brisk pace to attract donors, but Trump's official re-election committee and two joint GOP committees (Trump Victory and Trump Make America Great Again) still had $54 million in the bank at the end of June. The single biggest donation in the second quarter came from Texas banker Andrew Beal, who gave $339,000. Also of note: The three committees spent $1.2 million on legal fees in the second quarter, bringing the total to $8.6 million since the start of 2017. (Read more President Trump stories.)