President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump MORE said Monday that he could out-raise Democratic competitor Joe BidenJoe BidenHaiti prime minister warns inequality will cause migration to continue Pelosi: House must pass 3 major pieces of spending legislation this week Erdoğan says Turkey plans to buy another Russian defense system MORE if he used the power of his position to fundraise with major companies such as oil giants.
“All I have to do is call up the head of every Wall Street firm, head of every major company, the head of every major energy company, ‘Do me a favor, send me $10 million for my campaign.’ ‘Yes, sir.’ They say the only thing is, ‘Why didn't you ask for more, sir?’ ” Trump said at a campaign stop in Arizona, adding that he would not accept the funds “because if I do that I'm totally compromised.”
Trump has trailed Biden in fundraising totals heading toward the final two weeks of the campaign. The former vice president in September shattered previous fundraising totals by bringing in $365 million in a joint effort with the Democratic National Committee. Figures from Open Secrets show Biden having raised $531 million in the August reporting cycle, compared with Trump’s $476 million.
The president went on to say he could be the greatest fundraiser in history, dangling the prospect of getting money from oil companies in need of permits from the federal government.
Federal law prohibits soliciting campaign contributions in exchange for specific policy outcomes or other quid pro quos.
“Don't forget, I'm not bad at that stuff anyway, and I'm president. So I call some guy, the head of Exxon. I call the head of Exxon. I don't know,” Trump said before playing out a conversation.
“How are you doing? How’s energy coming? When are you doing the exploration? Oh, you need a couple of permits?” he said. “When I call the head of Exxon I say, ‘You know, I'd love [for you] to send me $25 million for the campaign.’ ‘Absolutely sir.’”
“I will hit a home run every single call. I would raise a billion dollars in one day if I wanted to. I don't want to do that,” he said.
Exxon took to Twitter later on Monday to make clear such a phone call with their CEO "never happened."
We are aware of the President’s statement regarding a hypothetical call with our CEO…and just so we’re all clear, it never happened.— ExxonMobil (@exxonmobil) October 19, 2020
—Updated at 7:08 p.m.