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Trump ramps up fundraising efforts to close gap

(NewsNation) — Presumptive Republican nominee and former President Donald Trump is ramping up his fundraising efforts, putting more events on the books as the campaign works to close a crucial money gap.

Trump is attending a major fundraiser Tuesday night in New York. Tickets start at $100,000 and top out at more than $844,000, according to an invitation obtained by NewsNation.

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The New York fundraiser, combined with other events this week, will bring in $25 million, a campaign official told NewsNation, confirming a figure first reported by Fox News.

Among the leading donors serving as its hosts are New York Jets owner Woody Johnson, who served as ambassador to the U.K. in the Trump administration; investor Duke Buchan, who served as U.S. ambassador to Spain during the Trump administration; supermarket chain owner John Catsimatidis and Charles Kushner, father of Trump’s son-in-law and a real estate developer.

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This event also could be seen as another live version of “The Apprentice” when several of the contenders to be Trump’s running mate are expected to attend, including Gov. Doug Burgum, R-N.D., and Sens. Tim Scott, R-S.C., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla.  

Instead of appearing at campaign rallies like he vowed to do, Trump is expected to be the main attraction at high-dollar fundraisers throughout the country, typically on Wednesdays when his criminal business records trial is not in session.

This Wednesday, he will attend donor events in Lexington, Kentucky, and Cincinnati, Ohio, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader and Cincinnati Enquirer.

Next week, he travels to Texas for a fundraiser in Dallas on behalf of the super PAC supporting him, Make American Great Again, according to an invitation obtained by NewsNation.

Texas oil executive Harold Hamm, who supported Trump in 2016 but then backed Nikki Haley before returning to Trump’s fold, is hosting the event. Hamm and Trump had dinner Monday night in New York, NewsNation has learned. A spokesman for Hamm did not return a message seeking comment on his efforts.

There is also a major West Coast fundraising trip on the books for early June.

Campaign officials said after attending his hush money trial, Trump will have dinner with donors or talk to them on the phone.

Trump is also getting some outside help. After he and one-time foe Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis met a few weeks ago to mend fences, the governor is making plans to start raising cash for him, a source familiar with the effort told NewsNation.

The Associated Press originally reported the new effort by DeSantis, who is said to be reaching out to some of his backers who haven’t given to Trump, while his team is beginning to schedule some events where DeSantis will appeal to donors.  

This impetus for the intensified effort is the cash deficit the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee have compared to the Democrats. Biden, combined with the Democratic National Committee, ended March with $192 million in cash on hand, more than double what Trump and the Republican National Committee had.

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The Trump campaign did not return a message seeking comment on the fundraisers.

Trump and the Republicans are making up some ground thanks to major April events, such as last month’s major Mar-a-Lago gala, which netted over $50 million, and the Republican donor retreat earlier this month in Palm Beach, Florida.  

A top official confirmed the campaign and the Republican National Committee raised $76 million in April. The Federal Election Commission has not yet released official numbers for the month.

Democrats are not letting up. President Joe Biden wrapped a weekend trip to the West Coast where he raised $10 million, a source familiar with the matter confirmed.

Also, several major Democratic events are planned: a June fundraiser featuring Biden, former President Barack Obama, George Clooney and Julia Roberts, a campaign official confirmed, and a separate summer event featuring former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton.

NewsNation’s Libby Dean and Tanya Noury contributed to this story.