Donald Trump on Monday said he could “raise a billion dollars” for his election campaign in exchange for giving companies government favours "if he wanted to”.
During a bizarre off-script moment at a campaign rally in Prescott, Arizona, Mr Trump suggested he could be “the greatest fundraiser in history” – if only he was corrupt. It comes after campaign declarations showed his rival Joe Biden has raised considerably more in donations in recent weeks.
To illustrate his point, Mr Trump described a hypothetical call that he could make to the CEO of ExxonMobil, soliciting a bribe from the company. “So I call the head of Exxon — I don’t know, I’ll use a company,” he said. “‘Hi, how are you doing? How’s energy coming? When are you doing the exploration? Oh, you need a couple of permits, huh? Okay.”
“But I call the head of Exxon, I say, ‘You know, I’d love you to send me $25 million for the campaign.’ ‘Absolutely sir, why didn’t you ask? Would you like some more?'”
After a clip of the comments was widely shared online, drawing condemnation from Democrat politicians in particular, ExxonMobil responded with a statement saying no such call has taken place between Mr Trump and its CEO, Darren Woods.
“Just so we’re all clear, it never happened,” the ExxonMobil statement read.
According to the campaign finance records published on opensecrets.org, individuals affiliated with ExxonMobil have contributed far more to Mr Biden and other Democrats this year’s presidential election than to Mr Trump and the Republicans. While Mr Trump raised a total $69,486, Mr Biden earned $111,866.