How will Trump's fundraising woes affect his campaign?

Reaction from the 'Special Report' All-Star panel


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," June 21, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESUMPTIVE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I've raised a lot of money. But you also have to have some help from the party. We have a party that, I mean, I'm having more difficulty frankly with some of the people in the party than I am with the Democrats.


SHANNON BREAM, GUEST ANCHOR: Let's bring in our panel today to talk about some of these fundraising numbers from Donald Trump. We've got Tucker Carlson, host of "Fox & Friends Weekend," Kirsten Powers, USA Today columnist, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. Welcome to you all.

All right, let's talk about these numbers a little bit, because when we look at cash on hand, going into Donald Trump is outpaced by Hillary Clinton by almost 40 times what he has on hand, Tucker. That's doesn't sound good.

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS: It's a surprising number. It's a shocking number, honestly, and it doesn't reflect well on the Trump campaign. No denying that.

On the other hand, a couple points. One, money does not determine the outcome of elections necessarily, as Mitt Romney proved, as a lot of people proved in this last primary season. Two, this is evidence among other things that the GOP donor class isn't giving, so presumably they think they're going to do better with Hillary. They won't. And the third obvious point that the Trump people ought to be exploiting is this shows that Hillary Clinton has a Ph.D. in sucking up to rich people. This was the rationale behind his primary campaign, as you remember -- I'm not beholden to moneyed interests. That was resonant theme and he ought to revive it.

BREAM: Kirsten, he's talked a lot about the fact that he is going to do things on his own as Tucker said. I'm self-funding. I'm not beholden to anybody. But now if you're competing against somebody who has tens of millions of more dollars and with super PACs factored in going to be assisting Mrs. Clinton as well, he is again on his side lesser than what she's got going, how does he combat that, or is it game over for him at least when it comes to relying on money to get your message out?

KIRSTEN POWERS, USA TODAY: I'm certainly not going to count Trump out or say game over for him. I think we've all learned that lesson. But when you look at a primary campaign versus a general election campaign, you're talking about a very different situation. In the primary campaign he needed to run against a large field of people and distinguish himself enough to get the majority out of 17 and then it decreased. But the point is he needed to fire up the base.

Now he's going to have to really convince a wide swath of people, including people who wouldn't normally vote for him, that they need to vote for him. And he's going to be under attack from Hillary as we saw in her economic speech which we're going to talk about later. He's going to get the Bain treatment, exactly what happened to Mitt Romney, times 1,000. So he's going to be caricatured, and he's going to need to be able to get his message out, and the question is, is free media going to be enough?

BREAM: Let's look historically on where we were with former GOP candidates at this time as far as fundraising. When you look back at Romney in May of 2012, he had $23.4 million raised, $17 on hand. McCain in that same neighborhood, $21.5 million back 2008, but $31 million on hand. Now Charles, he's done things differently than either of those candidates and he's been successful with that so far.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: What tends to discount that graph, those numbers, is the fact that McCain and Romney lost. So it is hardly, you know, something that guarantees Trump's losing. It isn't that much of a negative. He got $2 billion worth of free media. He's the master of that.

Now, it could be that after nine months or a year now of being on the air every day, all the time, on all cable networks, that the message is there, already out there, and it's not going to do very much good. In fact he tends now with all of these appearances to get himself in trouble, as he has over the last month or so with his off-the-cuff pronouncements.

But it's in no way determining. The one thing that is interesting and paradoxical and that would be a problem for any other ordinary candidate is that he did campaign very strongly and very aggressively against his competitors in the primaries for being owned lock, stock, and barrel by the people they took money from. And here he is going around with cap in hand, cup in hand, trying to raise money from donors and complaining that he's not getting enough. So you have to ask him, with him he seems to discard an idea from here to there. But it's a complete contradiction, won't he be owned by them if he gets their money? And how does he explain the flip- flop?

BREAM: And Tucker today, there are a number of GOP pundits and insiders who, and some of them went on the record. They're named, saying they're very concerned because he doesn't like going around asking for money. He doesn't want to spend time on the phone or in person with these donors. He's used to being the one wooed and not the other way around.

CARLSON: I think probably a totally fair criticism. They should in part be discounted because that's what we do here in Washington is we make our living from the money that candidates raise. I mean, that's our business. And so people have vested interests in wanting to see as much paid television advertising, for example, as they possibly can.

But now is the time for Trump in a judo move to flip it around and say Hillary Clinton is the candidate of Wall Street. She's taking more money of course from Wall Street I think than any candidate ever, and to call for her, as Bernie Sanders did, to release the transcripts of her speeches to Wall Street banks. Why wouldn't he take this opportunity to flip it around? These numbers are impossible to explain. So time to go on the offense.

BREAM: It was the one thing that Bernie brought up in the debates --

KRAUTHAMMER: This is a guy who won't release his tax forms.

CARLSON: That's the standard of consistency to which he is not held.

KRAUTHAMMER: He's going to demand openness, transparency for her speeches? They're probably irrelevant. Everybody knows there's nothing in there. While he's withholding the one thing that every candidate for every party has done for 40 years, that's not a very strong argument.

CARLSON: It's a brazen argument. I will give you that. But you said 40 to one, you have to have a response to it, and it can't just be Paul Singer doesn't like me.

BREAM: Again, he's done things his own way and thus far been very successful doing them his own way. We'll see.

Today he did go and meet with scores of evangelical leaders, conservative Christian groups, Catholics as well, to try to allay their fears that they have about him. Here is a little of what Tony Perkins said at the Family Research Council after that meeting.


TONY PERKINS, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: Donald Trump today came and had a conversation. Now, we don't agree on everything. But one thing he did, he acknowledged the concerns that evangelicals have and he affirmed those concerns. And he said it won't happen when I'm president.


BREAM: Kirsten, folks inside the meeting said they talked about things like Planned Parenthood, defunding that, abortion issues, but also they said the topic that came up again and again that he committed to was defending religious freedom not just of Christians, but including Christians, Muslims, whomever in this country.

POWERS: Apparently he got a standing ovation as well, which some other things that he talked about was he questioned Hillary Clinton's religion, which is very similar to what he was doing with President Obama and invoked President Obama, saying, well, at least with the President Obama we were on our guard, but with Hillary Clinton, we're not. So he seemed to be going down the path again of questioning religions. He said that we don't know anything about Hillary Clinton's religion, which is an absolute falsehood. It's just not true. There's quite a bit known about it.

And so he, in front of this religious group, this is where he decides to go. He also said some theologically questionable things, like you don't need to pray for leaders you don't like, you don't need to pray for other people, just pray for me because I'm going to protect religious freedom. So this is kind of the old guard of, it's very much the religious right, the old guard of the religious right, and I think that they are going to go with Trump. They have nowhere else to go. So it's not surprising, but there are a lot of evangelical leaders that don't like Trump, like Russell Moore. Robby George refused to go to this meeting.

BREAM: Right. And there are a number who stopped way far short of an endorsement today but did go on to say, given our options, he's the best option we think we have on issues like abortion, like religious freedom. But, Charles, I didn't hear a lot of ringing endorsements coming out of the meeting.

KRAUTHAMMER: It's hardly a ringing endorsement when Perkins says he said it won't happen when I'm president. What does the "it" refer to?

BREAM: I think it meant these attacks on religious liberty is what Perkins had been talking about.

KRAUTHAMMER: I thought it was saying the things that Trump had done that might have offended evangelicals would not happen when he's in the White House, which is odd, because when you run for office, you tend to accommodate your audience. But once you're in the office you can do anything you want and the restraints are off. So it's an odd that you're going to be more restrained and disciplined after you've won the prize.

But I do think his appeal has always been, and the fact that he won the evangelical vote remarkably, quite overwhelmingly, against a guy like Ted Cruz, I think everybody understands he was saying I'm not one of you. I acknowledge that. I say "Two Corinthians," I'm not exactly well-versed in the Bible, but --

BREAM: Pun intended.

KRAUTHAMMER: -- I will protect you. I'm going to be the centurion standing outside the cathedral gates protecting you against the barbarians abroad and the barbarians, the secularists at home. I'll protect you. And he said that explicitly, and that's a pretty powerful argument.

BREAM: For many today, the said that's simply what they needed to hear.

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