“Trump advisers were privately reckoning with his loss even as the former president and many of his supporters engaged in a conspiracy theory-fueled effort to overturn the election.”
The post-mortem, a copy of which was obtained by POLITICO, says the former president suffered from voter perception that he wasn’t honest or trustworthy and that he was crushed by disapproval of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. And while Trump spread baseless accusations of ballot-stuffing in heavily Black cities, the report notes that he was done in by hemorrhaging support from white voters.
The 27-page report, which was written by Trump chief pollster Tony Fabrizio, shows how Trump advisers were privately reckoning with his loss even as the former president and many of his supporters engaged in a conspiracy theory-fueled effort to overturn the election. The autopsy was completed in December 2020 and distributed to Trump’s top political advisers just before President Joe Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration.It is unclear if Trump has seen the report.
The findings are based on an analysis of exit polling in 10 states. Five of them — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — are states that Trump lost after winning them in 2016. The other five — Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas — are states that Trump won in both elections.
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On Monday, The New York Times revealed that former President Donald Trump only used a small fraction of the money he raised from credulous supporters to fight “voter fraud” actually went to legal fees to hunt for voter fraud.
Instead, wrote Shane Goldmacher and Rachel Shorey, Trump and the GOP funneled much of the money into political organizations.
“Mr. Trump and the G.O.P. stored away much of the money — $175 million or so — even as they continued to issue breathless, aggressive and often misleading appeals for cash that promised it would help with recounts, the rooting out of election fraud and even the Republican candidates' chances in the two Senate runoff races in Georgia,” said the report. “What fraction of the money Mr. Trump did spend after the election was plowed mostly into a public-relations campaign and to keep his perpetual fund-raising machine whirring, with nearly $50 million going toward online advertising, text-message outreach and a small television ad campaign.”
“Only about $10 million spent by Mr. Trump's campaign went to actual legal costs, according to an analysis of new Federal Election Commission filings from Nov. 4 through the end of the year,” said the report. Meanwhile, tens of millions of this funding is now in his new Save America political action committee — which “provides him a fat war chest he can use to pay advisers, fund travel and maintain a political operation.”
Trump and his allies filed dozens of lawsuits in state and federal court to try to toss out the results of the election — and was ultimately smacked down nearly every time, including by a judge he appointed. However, the fraction of these suits funded by Trump directly may not have been that expensive — especially considering he has vehemently fought paying Rudy Giuliani his legal fees.
All of this is in spite of the fact that, according to the report, the evidence suggests grassroots Trump donors believed this money was going to be used to “stop the steal.”