LAS VEGAS — Donald Trump on Saturday claimed most of the money he’s been collecting at his recent fundraisers is going to the Republican Party, but also threatened to cut the GOP off if support from the party wavers.
"Right now I'm raising a lot of money for the Republican Party, and a lot of beneficiaries to that, and I like doing it," Trump said.
“Life is like a two-way street, right?” Trump said. “They have to [help], otherwise I'll just keep doing what I'm doing, I'll just keep funding my own campaign…for me, that's the easy way,” he said.
Trump’s candidacy has been problematic for some in the GOP. Some Republican delegates in Colorado are moving forward with a plan to oust Trump at the party’s convention. And House Speaker Paul Ryan on Friday said he wouldn’t instruct House members to vote for Trump, saying they should vote their conscience.
Trump in Las Vegas Saturday dismissed efforts to oust him at the convention as a “hoax” that was “made up by the press.”
"First of all, it's illegal. Second of all, you can't do it. Third of all, we, not me, we got 14, almost 14 million votes, 14 million votes in the primary system,” he said of the fledgling but growing movement to change the Republican National Convention rules to allow even delegates bound to Trump to vote against him based on their "conscience."
Trump also pointed out the grassroots effort haven’t tapped an alternative.
"Who were they going to pick? I've beat everybody,” Trump said. “But I don't mean beat, I beat the hell out of them, right? Beat the hell out of them."
Trump accused two of his former opponents — Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush — of being in on the effort.
"And now you have a couple of guys that were badly defeated and they're trying to organize, maybe like a little bit of a delegate revolt," Trump said.
The leader of the movement to change the rules, Colorado Rules Committee member Kendal Unruh, acknowledged in an interview with NBC News that they hadn’t tapped any candidate, but said the effort would continue in hopes that a candidate would eventually emerge.
She also said the effort had no ties to any former candidate and hadn’t been in contact with their campaigns, though many delegates supportive of Trump’s opponents had expressed interest in her effort.
Trump said during his Las Vegas rally that he raised $12-13 million for the party “between yesterday and today,” a number he repeated in an NBC News interview.
That clashed with what campaign sources had previously said about his Texas fundraising haul. Trump Finance Chairman Steven Mnuchin said that Trump was referring to the total Trump raised in Texas and Nevada combined.
"I would self-fund in a minute," in the general election, Trump told NBC News in a phone conversation after his Las Vegas rally. "It's cheaper for me to self-fund."
When pressed on how it could be cheaper for him to fund his own campaign, Trump argued that the money he's raising for the joint fundraising committee he’s launched with the Republican National Committee goes mostly to the party.
All of the events Trump’s been headlining during his fundraising swing across the nation this week benefit that joint fund, meaning some of the money he’s raising may be earmarked to the RNC and inaccessible to his campaign.
Mnuchin said the candidate’s fundraising efforts “could not be going better,” considering his late start.
Trump’s two-day fundraising swing through Texas netted him a total of $8 million, with just over $6 million coming in from his Dallas fundraisers on Thursday and the rest coming in on Friday, multiple Trump campaign sources said. That suggests Trump’s Nevada fundraiser had to bring in about $3 million.
“Considering we started this literally four weeks ago, it could not be going better," Mnuchin said of Trump’s fundraising efforts. Mnuchin said of Trump: "He's putting in a lot of resources to help the party. People who are up for election will appreciate it."
Multiple reports in recent weeks have outlined disarray within Trump’s finance team and underscored the uphill battle he faces in raising enough money to compete with Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party’s deep coffers.
Trump still trails — by a huge margin — Clinton, who had more than $30 million cash on hand as of April 30, to Trump’s $2.4 million cash on hand. He’s being outpaced by where Mitt Romney was in fundraising at this point in 2012.
"We're gonna beat Hillary," Trump said in Las Vegas. But he added "it would be helpful if the Republicans could help us a little bit, you know, OK?"