US elections 2016

Trump names Christie for transition team

Mr Christie (left) will lead Mr Trump's White House transition team in the event the billionaire wins the November presidential vote.
Mr Christie (left) will lead Mr Trump's White House transition team in the event the billionaire wins the November presidential vote.PHOTO: REUTERS

He now needs to raise as much as $2.05b in six months for presidential campaign

NEW YORK • Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has picked New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to lead his White House transition team in the event the billionaire wins the November presidential vote.

Mr Trump also took steps to appropriate much of the Republican National Committee's financial and political infrastructure for his presidential campaign on Monday, amid signs that he and the party would lag dangerously behind the Democrats in raising money for the general election.

Mr Trump, who by the end of March had spent around US$40 million (S$55 million) of his fortune on the primaries, has said he may need as much as US$1.5 billion (S$2.05 billion) for his campaign, but he will seek to raise it from donors rather than continue to self-finance.

But Mr Trump has no fund-raising apparatus to resort to, no network of prolific bundlers to call upon, and little known experience with the type of marathon, one-on- one serial salesmanship and solicitousness that raising so much money is likely to require - even if individuals are able to contribute up to the current limit of US$334,000 at a time to the party. And he has to do it all in six months, with a deeply divided party.

"No one should underestimate how hard it would be for any nominee to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in a very short period of time," said Mr Mike DuHaime, who was the top strategist for the presidential campaign of Mr Christie.

While Mr Trump's continued feud with the Republican establishment is likely to cheer his supporters, his intense need for money to run his general election campaign suggests the degree to which he will rely heavily on the party's infrastructure.

Underscoring the urgency with which Mr Trump and Republicans will need to increase their fund-raising, some of the party's allies who spent enormous sums in the 2012 election now appear likely to stay on the sidelines in the presidential race - including the vast Koch brothers network, which had pledged to spend nearly US$900 million this year.

Chairman of the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce Mark Holden, one of the Koch network's main umbrella groups, signalled that it would require a significant change in tactics by Mr Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, for his group to open the spigot.

Former Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, who in September called Mr Trump a "narcissist" and an "egomaniacal madman", said he would vote for the presumptive Republican nominee despite his concern about his candidacy.

"I think electing Donald Trump would be the second-worst thing we could do this November, better only than electing Hillary Clinton to serve as the third term for the Obama administration's radical policies," Mr Jindal wrote in a column that was published in the Wall Street Journal on Sunday.

NEW YORK TIMES

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 11, 2016, with the headline 'Trump names Christie for transition team'. Print Edition | Subscribe