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The Lid: Trump’s $1 Billion Problem

Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos…In an interview Wednesday, Donald Trump said he has narrowed his VP search to 4 or 5 politicians, including at least one former GOP primary rival who has yet to endorse him. So don’t worry George Pataki fans, there is still hope!

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‘16 from 30,000

Last night, Donald Trump sought to soothe GOP concerns when he released a statement addressing his comments about Trump University Judge Gonzalo Curiel and then delivered a scripted election night speech. (It was just his fifth time during the campaign doing so, NBC News’ Ali Vitali notes.) But any relief the GOP establishment may have been feeling was likely short lived Wednesday when — the day before Trump is set to meet with big money donors — he told Bloomberg Politics there is “no reason” to fundraise $1 billion. That directly contradicts what Trump told our own Lester Holt last month, saying a billion “is what's going to be necessary.” (Though later in his answer he seemed to shy away from the estimate.)

Now, Trump says, he doesn’t need as much money “because I get so much publicity.” While Trump’s right that he’s dominated headlines, he largely accomplished it by making the crowded GOP race all about his unlikely success and novelty as a candidate. That won’t necessarily be the case anymore as the electorate hunkers down for a grinding one-on-one battle with Hillary Clinton. And as our big sis publication First Read noted this morning — the last FEC filings show Clinton has $30 million in the bank versus just $2 million for Trump. And even if Trump does hit the $1 billion mark, he could still get doubled up by a Clinton campaign whose fundraising apparatus could raise $2 billion. By the way, if Trump’s early appeal was largely predicated on the fact that he wasn’t “beholden” to donors, will the same fans who applauded his independence stand by him even as he courts the very big-name money-men he’d once railed against?

POPPING ON NBC POLITICS

FOR THE RECORD…

“It’s like ignoring stage-four cancer. You can’t do it, you gotta go attack it.”

  • Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, on Donald Trump as the GOP nominee

TOMORROW’S SKED

Members of the Trump campaign make another visit to Capitol Hill for a closed door meeting.

Bernie Sanders holds a rally at RFK stadium in Washington, D.C.