Biden campaign fundraising takes a major hit

President Joe Biden’s campaign has already suffered a major slowdown in donations and officials are bracing for a seismic fundraising hit, with the fallout from a debate nearly two weeks ago taking a sizable toll on operations, according to four sources close to the re-election effort.

“It’s already disastrous,” one of the sources close to Biden’s re-election said of fundraising.

“The money has absolutely shut off,” another source close to the re-election said.

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Two of the sources said this month is on a path to be down by possibly half — “or much more,” one of them said — from large donors alone. Sources emphasized that the donations were down across the board.

“Donors are negative. They had a call with the president. The call seemed so contrived to people; I don’t think they buy it,” one of the people close to the campaign said, referring to a recent national fundraising call between Biden and donors. “They called on people who were the most loyal, die-hard … There were no tough questions for the president.”

Initially after the debate, the campaign reported an uptick in donors. But that quickly fell off, the sources said.

A Biden campaign spokesperson pushed back against the notion that fundraising was down. “That’s not accurate,” spokesperson Lauren Hitt said. “On grassroots fundraising, the first seven days of July were the best start to the month on the campaign — and many of those were first-time donors. On the high-dollar side, we’ve had folks max out since the debate, as well.”

Hitt didn’t share how many donors have hit the maximum allowed under federal law since the debate.

One of the people close to the re-election efforts said this week that the campaign believed major donors who have threatened to jump ship after the debate would come around — if only to avoid helping former President Donald Trump by sitting out the race.

Biden aides had said privately that “if major donors don’t come along, we’ll do it without them.”

One of the sources said several unplanned fundraisers were in the early planning stages for the month.

But several people close to the re-election effort were already doubting that Wednesday, saying they could see evidence of the intensity in concern around Biden’s ability to win in November growing.

One donor said he feared the re-election effort is out of touch with reality and may be repeating the delusions of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, leading Biden to make dangerously flawed assessments about his standing in the race.

The source said he was struck by the campaign’s outward confidence, as well as Biden’s own, even as publicly available data has found Biden trailing Trump in key states.

The doubts go beyond Biden’s cognitive abilities. His positive talk about polling in the ABC News interview, for example, sounded “actually quite Trumpian,” the donor said, and it has caused donors to question where he is getting his information from.

“Donors, they are saying, well, wait a minute, which polls is he looking at? Which polls should we be looking at?” he said.

“It’s a broader, ‘Is the group around the president really in touch with what’s going on? Are people deluding themselves, and therefore whatever they’re conveying is sort of a reflection of the bubble?’” he said.

Some of Biden’s top fundraisers won’t reach out to their lucrative networks because they’re not convinced Biden will be the nominee heading into the convention, despite his saying he’s staying in the race, according to one of Biden’s bundlers.

“You can’t reach out to someone, because someone could say, ‘Geez, I didn’t know, he has dementia,’” said a top bundler. “Right now, it’s like someone asks, ‘You want to go see a movie?’ And in this case I’m saying, ‘I don’t know what f—ing movie is playing.'”

A donor who did max out this month, Amy Goldman Fowler, explained her reasoning in a statement.

“I have been a long-time admirer of the President and continue to support his reelection efforts,” she said. “The Biden Administration’s accomplishments are many and they are consequential. I’m proud of what he has been able to do. Yesterday I reiterated my support by making an additional significant contribution to President Biden’s election fund.”

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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