Strapped for cash, Trump reportedly abandons planned Arizona trip to save money

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Arizona Republican candidate for US Senate Kari Lake poses for a photo in front of a backdrop depicting former President Donald Trump exiting Trump Force One. Photo by Alon Skuy/Getty Images

By Camaron Stevenson

March 22, 2024

Arizona’s affordability challenges have reached such limits that even self-proclaimed billionaires are feeling the squeeze.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump quietly scrapped plans to visit Arizona this week, reportedly due to financial concerns. The decision to tighten his purse strings comes as the former president deals with a $454 million fine for committing fraud in New York, and is required to pay writer E. Jean Carroll $83 million for defaming her after she accused Trump of rape.

Trials pulling focus—and finances

The cancellation marks Trump’s second scrapped trip to Arizona in less than two months, the first occurring in January due to his required appearance in court for the defamation case, which he lost. His recent failure to campaign in the battleground state extends an 18-month absence in Arizona, his last visit taking place in October 2022 to campaign for gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and US Senate candidate Blake Masters, both of whom lost their election.

The Copper Courier reached out to the Trump campaign and the Republican Party of Arizona for comment on the canceled visits, but neither responded prior to publication.

President Joe Biden, in contrast, has visited Arizona three times in the past eight months, where he traveled to Coconino County and established a new national monument near the Grand Canyon, spoke at Arizona State University and announced federal funding for a McCain National Library, and spoke in Chandler about a massive investment into Arizona’s manufacturing industry.

“President Biden has visited our state several times to talk about the issues that matter most to our voters– creating jobs, protecting abortion access, lowering the cost of healthcare,” Arizona Democratic Party Chair Yolanda Bejarano told The Copper Courier. “While Trump and Arizona Republicans drain all their money on litigating election conspiracy theories.”

The ‘pay your bills’ candidate comes up short

Trump’s decision to forgo a visit to Arizona may also signal business owners’ waning patience with the former president’s aversion to paying bills. During his previous visits, Trump wasn’t billed for his use of venues and city services like on-site law enforcement until after his rally. As a result, his campaign left a trail of unpaid invoices from Tucson to Prescott totaling roughly $150,000.

While cities like Tucson, Phoenix and Mesa, are still awaiting payments, Prescott Valley eventually agreed to foot the $25,000 bill for his July 2022 visit. The pattern seems to have incentivized venues to ask for payment up-front, resulting in Trump abandoning the state altogether.

And if the finances of the Trump campaign and the Republican Party are any indication, a trip to Arizona anytime soon isn’t likely: the two have a combined $45 million in cash, less than half of Biden and the Democratic Party’s $97 million war chest.

“We are two weeks into the general election and Donald Trump can’t raise money, is hiding at his country club, and is letting convicts and conspiracy theorists take over his campaign,” the Biden campaign said in a statement. “That is not a winning strategy.”

A large portion of Trump’s fundraising haul isn’t being directed to his campaign, but his legal fees. $55 million in campaign contributions were used to pay for Trump’s array of court cases in 2023, and in January, his campaign spent $2.6 million more than it took in, leaving little room for expenses like rallies in one of the most hotly-contested battleground states in the 2024 election.


  • Camaron Stevenson

    Camaron is the Founding Editor and Chief Political Correspondent for The Copper Courier, and has worked as a journalist in Phoenix for over a decade. He also teaches multimedia journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.



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