The press secretary for President Trump’s re-election campaign said Tuesday they are “unconcerned” about his first Republican challenger in the 2020 race. Kayleigh McEnany, the national press secretary for Mr. Trump’s 2020 campaign, told CBSN’s “Red & Blue” on Tuesday that they are taking former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld “not seriously at all.”
“We are unconcerned,” McEnany said. “We’re focused on the Democrats.”
Weld, who has been mulling a run for months, officially launched his bid Monday for the Republican nomination. Weld appeared on the ballot in 2016, as the Libertarian party’s nominee for vice president.
Weld will, undoubtedly, face an uphill fight. McEnany said Mr. Trump isn’t even considering a primary debate in any form.
Weld’s announcement came shortly after Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign announced it raised $30.3 million in the first quarter of 2019. That total far surpasses the haul by any Democrat or Republican in the race so far, and it’s equivalent to the amount brought in top Democratic candidates Sens. Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris, who brought in $18.2 million and $12 million, respectively.
McEnany said the bulk of campaign donations is coming from small dollar donors, with nearly 99 percent of contributions coming from people who gave $200 or less.
“That is quite striking,” McEnany said. “The Republican party hasn’t always been known as the party of small donors, but that all changed with President Trump. “
The $30 million is only a part of the President’s war chest. Trump-Pence 2020 has more than $40.8 million on hand — a record haul for a presidential re-election campaign this far before the next election, CBS News’ Ed O’Keefe reported earlier this week. In addition, the Republican National Committee reported bringing in $45.8 million during the first quarter.
“He has really brought a type of grassroots energy that we have not seen in the history of this party,” McEnany said. “That’s fueling our coffers over at the campaign and at the RNC.”
While the campaign is “looking to expand the Trump map,” according to McEnany, it’s wasting no resources targeting reliable Republican voters. This includes those who are 65 years or older. Axios first reported this week the Trump campaign is spending nearly half of its Facebook ad budget targeting this demographic.
“They are a reliable voting base, and the Republican party has depended on them for quite sometime,” McEnany told CBSN.
McEnany emphasized that “it’s not just this group” that the campaign is keeping their eye on. She said the campaign is developing strategy on how to tout the economy as a way to attract millennial voters.
But Mr. Trump made immigration, not the economy, the forefront of the last election. There’s little sign he’s slowing down on his border rhetoric as well.
“We believe that President Trump is able to carry two messages at once,” McEnany said. “Both messages are key in 2020.”