The Latest: Trump plays down weak fundraising numbers


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the U.S. presidential campaign (all times EDT):

11:34 a.m.

Republican Donald Trump is playing down his lousy May fundraising numbers, insisting that June’s report will be better.

Campaign officials say in a statement Tuesday that June marked the campaign’s first full month of fundraising activity.

They say that activity will be reflected in the campaign’s next federal fundraising report.

They also say fundraising “has been incredible” and insist that they “continue to see a tremendous outpouring of support for Mr. Trump and money to the Republican Party.”

Trump is facing a serious fundraising disadvantage against likely Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

Donors gave Trump’s campaign about $3 million in May, even though he enjoyed presumptive nominee status for almost the entire month. By contrast, Clinton raised $26 million.

Trump says he could have plenty of cash in the bank if he simply put more of his own funds into the campaign.

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11:20 a.m.

Donald Trump is making his first direct email pitch for campaign donations. He is vowing to match up to $2 million in contributions.

The billionaire businessman had largely funded his Republican presidential primary campaign with his own money, lending about $46 million over the past year. As a general election candidate, he has been raising money from donors and is falling far behind likely Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

Fundraising reports show his campaign began June with about $1.3 million in the bank, compared to the $42 million Clinton’s campaign had on hand.

“This is the first fundraising email I have ever sent on behalf of my campaign,” Trump wrote. “That’s right. THE FIRST ONE.” He said in the email Tuesday that his offer to match up to $2 million in donations could “help make history.”

Trump has also purchased ad space on Facebook to make a similar appeal. He says he wants “to beat Crooked Hillary,” but “I need your help to do so.”

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9:55 a.m.

Hillary Clinton will meet Wednesday with House Democrats, her first session with them since becoming the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

A Democratic aide said Clinton was invited by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., another member of the House Democratic leadership. Becerra is among those who’ve been mentioned as a possible running mate with Clinton.

The aide said Clinton was expected to discuss how she expects her campaign to unfold and her agenda. The aide spoke on condition of anonymity because the aide was not authorized to describe the meeting publicly.

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, plans to meet July 7 with House GOP lawmakers.

Clinton’s reception from congressional Democrats has been far warmer than the decidedly mixed relationship that Trump has had with Republicans in Congress.

The meeting was first reported by Politico.

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7:10 a.m.

Presumed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is brushing aside questions about a large cash-on-hand disparity with Democrat Hillary Clinton while complaining he isn’t getting enough support in his own party.

Trump tells NBC’s “Today” show he’s “having more difficulty with some people in the party than I have with Democrats.”

Together, Trump and the Republican National Committee brought in about $18.6 million in May, including another loan from the candidate. Clinton and the Democratic National Committee raised more than double that. His campaign started June with $1.3 million in the bank; hers, with $42 million.

Asked about this Tuesday, Trump that “I understand money better than anybody and I understand it way better than Hillary.”

“I’ve raised a lot of money but you also have to have some help from the party,” he said.

Trump said he spent $55 million of “my own money” during the primary season and said he may do it again in the general election, “but it would be nice to have some help from the party.” He said Republican Party chairman Reince Priebus “has been terrific” but he needs more help from other GOP leaders.

“I can just go my own route,” he said on Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends.”

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4:15 a.m.

Donald Trump’s decision to fire his embattled campaign manager less than a month before the Republican convention sent a powerful signal to weary GOP leaders that the billionaire businessman recognizes the increasingly dire state of his presidential campaign.

Now, his party is looking for him to quickly implement other changes to mount a credible challenge to Hillary Clinton.

Many Republicans feel he has squandered the precious weeks since locking up the nomination. On the campaign trail, he appears stuck in a primary campaign he’s already won.

Aides hope Lewandowski’s departure will bring an end to the infighting that has plagued the campaign since Trump hired strategist Paul Manafort in March to help secure delegates ahead of the convention. Since then, the campaign’s rival factions have been jockeying for power.

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