Donald Trump told MSNBC’s Ari Melber in a statement Friday that he will not use funds raised in the general election to pay himself back for the loans he made to his primary campaign, despite a report the cable news network made saying otherwise.
Melber reported earlier on Friday that aides from the Trump campaign say the presumptive GOP nominee would not rule out using new donations raised to pay himself back $36 million for loans. The loans are 75 percent of his primary campaign total funds.
“After running against a corrupt fundraising system in the Republican primaries, Donald Trump now says he will raise hundreds of millions of dollars to compete in the general election. But the new money Trump raises is available not only for future campaigning – it can also go directly into Trump’s pocket, reimbursing him for his personal spending in the primaries,” Melber wrote.
Additionally, Melber writes that Trump only spent $317,000 of his own money during the primary and hardly ever donated funds to his campaign.
“The rest of his personal spending is structured as a loan to the campaign, which now owes Trump $35.9 million,” Melber added.
Trump’s statement to MSNBC read, “I have absolutely no intention of paying myself back for the nearly $50 million dollars I have loaned to the campaign. This money is a contribution made in order to ‘Make America Great Again.’”
Trump routinely tells primary voters at rallies that he is “self-funding” his campaign and unlike his competitor at the time, he claimed he could not be bought because he was not accepting donations from outside contributors.
However, Trump is raising outside money for the general election, and general election money raised cannot legally be used repay a primary debt. If Trump is going to pay himself back, he must do so by August before the GOP Convention.
Although Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told the AP back in March that Trump would not pay himself back for the loans, Paul Manafort, Trump’s convention manager, told MSNBC it is not the campaign’s “intention right now” to use money raised to pay back the loans.