US President Joe Biden disembarks from Air Force One in Chicago on Monday
Joe Biden arrives in Chicago on Monday. The US president and the Democratic National Committee say they have more than $192mn on hand in campaign funds © Reuters

This is an onsite version of the US Election Countdown newsletter. You can read the previous edition here. Sign up for free here to get it on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Email us at

Good morning and welcome to US Election Countdown. Today we’re talking about:

  • The state of the Biden-Trump money race

  • Democratic rising star has a warning for Biden

  • Trump’s relationship with Fox News

Donald Trump probably thought he would win the weekend in terms of campaign cash as he prepared for a megadonor fundraiser in Palm Beach, Florida, on Saturday. But Joe Biden wasn’t having it.

Biden and the Democratic National Committee said on Saturday that they now had more than $192mn on hand. That’s almost $100mn more than Trump and the Republican National Committee previously said they held at the end of March. [Free to read]

Once again, the Democrats said their haul was the biggest pile of cash on hand “of any Democratic candidate in history”, with $90mn raised just last month. Trump raised $65mn in March, according to his campaign.

From his Palm Beach fundraiser, Trump did pull in $50mn, which was more than expected and set the record for the most money raised at a single political fundraiser, according to the campaign. The figure also eclipsed the $25mn Biden brought in at his ritzy New York City fundraiser last month featuring former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. 

“Biggest night in Fund Raising of ALL TIME!!! Will double up the Biden number of last week at Radio city. People are desperate for change,” Trump posted on Truth Social on Sunday. But many of those donors are likely to have maxed out the direct contributions they can make legally to Trump this election cycle (though they can still give as much as they want to super Pacs).

Biden’s camp has been trying to paint Trump’s campaign as overly reliant on megadonors willing to shell out millions of dollars that could flow to pay off his legal bills.

Meanwhile, Trump’s wife Melania is about to return to the fundraising circle. She’ll host the Log Cabin Republicans — an LGBT+ group — at Mar-a-Lago on April 20, as both candidates step up efforts to fund what is expected to be the most expensive presidential election battle ever. 

Campaign clips: the latest election headlines

  • UK foreign minister David Cameron met Trump in Florida yesterday, as London urges Republicans to approve more aid for Ukraine, ahead of a meeting with Biden in Washington today.

  • Trump declined to endorse a national abortion ban, disappointing anti-abortion groups but bringing relief to Republicans worried that the party’s hardline policies could hurt them at the ballot box.

  • Accountants for Trump Media, the former president’s social media company, have had repeated run-ins with regulators. [Free to read]

  • In Palm Beach, Trump told megadonors that it’s a shame the US doesn’t allow more immigrants from “nice countries” — read: majority-white — such as Denmark, Switzerland and Norway. He also said 2024 “could very well be the last election this country ever has”. (NYT)

  • Some Democrats and legal scholars want US Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor to retire ahead of the presidential election so that Biden can nominate a younger jurist.

  • No Labels, the centrist bipartisan group that hoped to field a “unity” ticket in 2024, abandoned its efforts after it failed to recruit a viable candidate.

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Behind the scenes

Pennsylvania governor Josh Shapiro
Pennsylvania governor Josh Shapiro argues that natural gas can play a role in the green energy transition © AP

Pennsylvania governor Josh Shapiro, a rising star in the Democratic party, has warned Biden that the president could lose the vital swing state in November if the ban on new US natural gas exports is not reversed.

“For whatever reasons that the administration put the pause [on approvals for new liquefied natural gas projects] in place, I hope that it is very rapid,” Shapiro told the FT’s Jamie Smyth. “This is critically important to our state.”

The shale gas sector is a big employer in Pennsylvania, which is the second-largest shale gas-producing US state after Texas. Republicans have attacked Biden’s climate policies, claiming they are bad for the economy and hostile to voters. While Biden describes himself as an ally of blue-collar workers, he also needs to keep climate-conscious voters onside.

Shapiro, a Biden ally, said the tension between addressing the climate crisis and preserving shale jobs was “a false choice”, arguing that natural gas could play a role in the green energy transition. “We can do both,” he said.

Biden is leading in the Pennsylvania polls by just a tenth of a point at 46.3 per cent to Trump’s 46.2 per cent, according to a RealClearPolitics average.


Every media outlet is trying to figure out how to cover Trump, with his statements full of exaggerations and false claims. But this conundrum is biggest for Fox News, which wants to remain a staple of the media diet on the right.

During Trump’s presidency, Fox News was in effect an extension of the White House as he called into their shows regularly and stayed glued to their coverage (especially of him). But that relationship broke down after he left office.

The reality is that Trump and Rupert Murdoch — the two most powerful US conservatives — need each other, so their icy relationship has begun to thaw. Though Fox also knows that getting too close to Trump can burn (last year, the media group paid almost $800mn to settle a defamation lawsuit from voting technology group Dominion, which said Fox had aired false claims of election fraud in 2020), moving towards each other seems inevitable.

“[Fox has] been caught between their not liking Trump, and at the same time, Trump being the game,” Jon Miller, a former top Murdoch lieutenant and current chief executive of Integrated Media, told the FT’s Anna Nicolaou, Lauren Fedor and Daniel Thomas.

“Fox has to come around and embrace Trump as fully as they did last time, and inevitably will. But they’re a little bit caught because they don’t want to outright lie.”


  • Rana Foroohar thinks that gold’s surge points to a swing in the global political economy pendulum. Trade and currency wars could follow, which another Trump presidency would put on steroids. [Available for Premium subscribers]

  • Jemima Kelly details what Trump’s media group and crypto tell us about facts vs feelings when asset prices are disconnected from fundamentals. 

  • Eastern Europe has learned that when populists return to power, they want revenge, writes Ivan Krastev, and that will fuel a second Trump administration.

  • Even though they’ve been doing well under Biden, some billionaires will back Trump as they seek lower tax rates, writes Paul Krugman. (NYT)

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