The news that Donald Trump raised a mere $3.1 million last month — leaving him with about $1.3 million on hand — has left many in the Republican party scratching their heads in disbelif. But it was anything but surprising to conservatives living and working in Hollywood.
Many say they’re holding off on donations for fear of being outed as Trump supporters in public contribution disclosures.
“If you’re climbing that studio ladder or haven’t become a big star yet you’re probably going to be very hesitant to support Trump,” Roger Neal, founder and owner of NPR, a Hollywood public relations and management company, told TheWrap. “Those people will be afraid because their boss is very likely a Hillary Clinton supporter.”
The lack of Hollywood money isn’t the only one of Trump’s fundraising problems — when has Hollywood not leaned left? — but it doesn’t help. And if Republicans in other industries are also afraid of seeing their names next to Trump donations, that’s another disadvantage for the real estate mogul and reality star.
“Many conservatives in Hollywood still don’t believe that Trump is one us,” Michael Ramirez, a conservative two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist, told TheWrap. “I was willing to hold my nose for someone like John McCain but the question still remains: Is Donald Trump really better than the alternative?”
One of the worst months of Trump’s campaign hasnt helped.
During a campaign rally in San Diego in May, Trump demanded the judge presiding over a class action lawsuits against Trump University recuse himself because of his Mexican heritage. His reaction to the Orlando shooting, congratulating himself for being tough on terror as the bodies were still being counted, was deemed “horrific” by many media outlets. Trump followed up on his congratulatory tweet by revoking press credentials from the Washington Post for reporting that he had somehow linked President Obama to the tragedy. On Monday, Trump fired his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski just weeks before the party’s national convention in Cleveland. On Tuesday, it was revealed that his campaign paid a mysterious ad firm with a name similar to the firm in “Mad Men.”
A Hollywood conservative who spoke on the condition of anonymity told TheWrap that many deep-pocket donors are taking a wait-and-see approach, fearful of “throwing good money after bad.”
Last month, Trump hired Steven Mnuchin, an investment banker-turned-Hollywood producer, as his fundraiser-in-chief in an effort to tap into the Hollywood conservative donor crowd. But even that effort has had its problems.
Last month, Trump held a glitzy fundraiser at the home of real estate investor Thomas Barrack Jr. But at least one prominent Hollywood conservatives questioned Mnuchin’s team organizational skills.
“I wasn’t even invited to the event,” Oscar-nominated writer and prominent Hollywood conservative Lionel Chetwynd told TheWrap. “A lot of other conservatives weren’t invited either. I don’t know why.”
Chetwynd said Trump also faces another hurdle when it comes to fundraising.
“Ever since the RNC and Trump joined forces, it’s created a lot of confusion among those who wish to donate,” Chetwynd said. “Some want to donate to Trump but don’t want their money going to [RNC Chair Reince] Priebus while others prefer their money go to the RNC and don’t want it ending up in Trump’s hands.”
If there’s anything Hollywood conservatives and political strategists seem to agree on, it’s that Trump has been running a dismal general-election campaign since clinching the GOP nomination almost two months ago, following the Indiana primary.
“Since Indiana, the campaign has been on vacation,” GOP political strategist Ford O’Connell told TheWrap. “It’s a problem.”
Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.