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Presidential candidates raising the most for their campaigns

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Matt Sullivan // Getty Images

Presidential candidates raising the most for their campaigns

As the United States barrels toward the first primaries and caucuses for the 2020 presidential election, candidates are focused on fundraising and donations more than ever. Whether the money comes from grassroots campaigning, large donors from wealthy individuals and large corporations, or straight out of pocket, funds are the blood that keeps a national campaign alive and healthy. This is money that goes into payments for staff, consultants, and others who work for campaigns in an official capacity. These funds contribute to travel expenses as candidates attempt to share their message to the entire country. From a practical standpoint, this money also goes into communication, usually via advertisements. These come in the form of television ads, billboards, lawn signs, merchandise, and direct mail.

However, the election cycle has come to a point where voters are asking for transparency and accountability when it comes to campaign financing. With special interest groups and donors investing large amounts of cash into political campaigns, ethical concerns are raised, and the motives and views of candidates are called into question depending on who is financing them. With that in mind, the public can take advantage of websites such as OpenSecrets, and the official regulatory body of the Federal Election Commission. Using information from OpenSecrets, Stacker compiled a list of 2020 presidential candidates that are raising the most money for their campaigns, from the lowest figures to the highest.

This list is ranked by the total amount of money raised in the second quarter by both the candidate’s campaign itself and by outside groups. However, this list only applies to candidates who are still currently in the race, have raised sufficient funds, and have their fundraising information currently available. As a result, Mark Sanford (R) is not represented in this gallery.

Read on to see how much money your favorite candidate has raised so far.

You may also like: Presidential candidates spending the most on their campaigns

[Pictured: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Sudduth Coliseum on Oct. 11, 2019, in Lake Charles, La., 2019.]

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Marc Nozell // Flickr

#22. Wayne Messam (D)

- Total raised: $93,818
--- Total raised by candidate committee: $93,818
--- Total raised by outside groups: $0
- Total cash on hand: $31,151
- Sources of funding:
--- Small individual contributions (less than $200): $27,923
--- Large individual contributions: $65,895
--- PAC contributions: $0
--- Candidate self-financing: $0
--- Other: $0

Miramar, Fla., Mayor Wayne Messam announced his run for the presidency in March 2019 at a rally at Florida Memorial University. It's been a roller coaster for the former football player and businessman since, between April reports of his staffers not receiving their paychecks, a financial report filing during Spring 2019 that mistakingly doubled his campaign contributions, and reported third-quarter earnings of just $5, according to filings with the FEC.

[Pictured: Democratic presidential candidate and Miramar, Fla., mayor Wayne Messam attends a meet and greet event in Goffstown, N.H., 2019.]

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Gage Skidmore // Flickr

#21. Joe Walsh (R)

- Total raised: $234,746
--- Total raised by candidate committee: $234,746
--- Total raised by outside groups: $0
- Total cash on hand: $115,430
- Sources of funding:
--- Small individual contributions (less than $200): $64,378
--- Large individual contributions: $64,810
--- PAC contributions: $0
--- Candidate self-financing: $100,000
--- Other: $5,803

Former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh in August 2019 announced his candidacy for president while a guest on ABC's "This Week." One of the few Republicans to take on President Trump in the 2020 election, Walsh has based his campaign on what he sees as Trump's disloyalty to the American people. White House counselor Kellyanne Conway's husband, lawyer George Conway, on Aug. 30 donated $5,600 to Walsh's campaign, according to FEC filings.

[Pictured: Republican presidential candidate and former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington D.C., 2011.]

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Phil Roeder // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Tim Ryan (D)

- Total raised: $1,296,884
--- Total raised by candidate committee: $1,296,884
--- Total raised by outside groups: $0
- Total cash on hand: $158,349
- Sources of funding:
--- Small individual contributions (less than $200): $425,717
--- Large individual contributions: $835,423
--- PAC contributions: $53,356
--- Candidate self-financing: $0
--- Other: $0

Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan faces a few daunting obstacles in his bid beyond his noticeably low funds. Several polls of Democratic voters have Ryan at 1% or lower, and he is pushing a progressive form of politics—pro-life and sustainable farming—unusual for his blue-collar, agricultural, Midwestern constituency, much of which voted for Trump in the last cycle.

[Pictured: Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan speaks at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair, 2019.]

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Alex Wong // Getty Images

#19. Bill Weld (R)

- Total raised: $1,318,599
--- Total raised by candidate committee: $1,318,599
--- Total raised by outside groups: $0
- Total cash on hand: $208,044
- Sources of funding:
--- Small individual contributions (less than $200): $403,020
--- Large individual contributions: $737,558
--- PAC contributions: $0
--- Candidate self-financing: $180,800
--- Other: $0

Bill Weld, who served as governor of Massachusetts from 1991-1997, is running a long-shot campaign against incumbent Donald Trump that thus far has mainly attracted retiree Republicans disillusioned with the current president. Weld’s fundraising hasn’t reached any outside groups and more than 10% of his campaign is self-financed. Weld in mid-October encouraged New Hampshire Democrats to re-register as "Undeclared" so they can cast a vote against Trump and for Weld in the country's first primary of 2020 on Feb. 11.

[Pictured: Republican presidential candidate and former Governor of Massachusetts Bill Weld delivers campaign speech at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair, 2019.]

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Scott Olson // Getty Images

#18. Marianne Williamson (D)

- Total raised: $3,036,843
--- Total raised by candidate committee: $3,036,843
--- Total raised by outside groups: $0
- Total cash on hand: $547,892
- Sources of funding:
--- Small individual contributions (less than $200): $2,005,513
--- Large individual contributions: $1,060,237
--- PAC contributions: $0
--- Candidate self-financing: $0
--- Other: $2,300

Author Marianne Williamson is a political outsider and has depended mostly on small individual donations. Most of Williamson’s campaign funds have come out of large metropolitan areas, namely the Los Angeles and New York City areas. The largest contributions to her long-shot campaign have mainly come from health professionals, with Williamson making health care and wellness a focus of her stump speeches and debate performances.

[Pictured: Democratic presidential candidate and self-help author Marianne Williamson speaks at the Polk County Democrats' Steak Fry, 2019.]

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Gage Skidmore // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Joe Sestak (D)

- Total raised: $3,712,860
--- Total raised by candidate committee: $3,712,860
--- Total raised by outside groups: $0
- Total cash on hand: $204,561
- Sources of funding:
--- Small individual contributions (less than $200): $84,690
--- Large individual contributions: $281,603
--- PAC contributions: $5,103
--- Candidate self-financing: $2,800
--- Other: $0

U.S. Navy veteran Joe Sestak served two terms as a representative for Pennsylvania's 7th District between 2007 and 2011. The 67-year-old wants to expand health coverage, including accessibility for mental health, and lower costs. He plans to carve out a reasonable path for citizenship, aggressively address climate change, and, based on his service background—which differentiates him from the other nominees—breathe fresh life into the party.

[Pictured: Democratic presidential candidate and former U.S. Congressman Joe Sestak speaking with attendees at the Iowa Federation of Labor Convention in Altoona, Iowa, 2019]

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Scott Olson // Getty Images

#16. Steve Bullock (D)

- Total raised: $4,316,090
--- Total raised by candidate committee: $4,316,090
--- Total raised by outside groups: $0
- Total cash on hand: $1,366,144
- Sources of funding:
--- Small individual contributions (less than $200): $1,420,833
--- Large individual contributions: $2,938,937
--- PAC contributions: $2,100
--- Candidate self-financing: $0
--- Other: $0

As the Democratic governor of Montana, a red state that Donald Trump won in 2016, Steve Bullock has spoken up against “dark money” and Citizens United, the Supreme Court decision that made way for the rise of Super PACs. Shut out of the most recent debate due to a lack of funding and polling, Bullock instead is relying on in-person meetings in swing states and cable news facetime to stay afloat in a race where he believes there is “very, very soft support” for Democratic leaders.

[Pictured: Democratic presidential candidate and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock speaks at the Polk County Democrats' Steak Fry, 2019.]

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Scott Eisen // Getty Images

#15. Michael Bennet (D)

- Total raised: $5,610,468
--- Total raised by candidate committee: $5,610,468
--- Total raised by outside groups: $0
- Total cash on hand: $1,863,600
- Sources of funding:
--- Small individual contributions (less than $200): $1,675,259
--- Large individual contributions: $3,235,302
--- PAC contributions: $4,807
--- Candidate self-financing: $2,800
--- Other: $700,000

A United States senator from Colorado for a decade now, Michael Bennet has aired frustration over his exclusion from recent, televised debates. Bennet is shining a spotlight on healthcare, education, and climate change; but his most notable plan is for tackling housing segregation and the extreme lack of affordable options, in part by expanding the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Credit and offering refundable mortgages for low-income families.

[Pictured: Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Michael Bennet speaks during the New Hampshire Democratic Party Convention, 2019.]

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Mario Tama // Getty Images

#14. Julian Castro (D)

- Total raised: $7,503,011
--- Total raised by candidate committee: $7,503,011
--- Total raised by outside groups: $0
- Total cash on hand: $672,333
- Sources of funding:
--- Small individual contributions (less than $200): $4,990,791
--- Large individual contributions: $2,605,878
--- PAC contributions: $19,363
--- Candidate self-financing: $0
--- Other: $0

Julian Castro, the former Housing and Urban Development secretary and mayor of San Antonio, believes in Medicare for All and, as a self-identifying immigrant, plans to address immigration in a way that finally puts Bush- and Trump-era laws in the rearview. In April 2019, Castro became the first nominee to release a detailed immigration plan that seeks to ease the path to citizenship for Dreamers brought to America as children.

Like many other candidates, however, his campaign is threatened by fundraising thresholds: Castro on Oct. 21 announced that he had 10 days to raise $800,000 for his campaign in order to stay in the race.

[Pictured: Democratic presidential candidate and former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro speaks at the SEIU Unions for All Summit, 2019.]

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Brian Blanco // Getty Images

#13. Tulsi Gabbard (D)

- Total raised: $9,003,179
--- Total raised by candidate committee: $9,003,179
--- Total raised by outside groups: $0
- Total cash on hand: $2,138,491
- Sources of funding:
--- Small individual contributions (less than $200): $4,215,905
--- Large individual contributions: $2,327,612
--- PAC contributions: $1,000
--- Candidate self-financing: $75
--- Other: $2,500,018

Tulsi Gabbard, an Iraq War veteran who served as a Hawaiian congresswoman, is anti-war and anti-interventionist, arguing against the idea of America as world police. She attacked the defense budget and Trump’s failure to remove troops from Syria, calling for wasted trillions to be directed toward “domestic needs like health, education, [and] infrastructure;” and called Hillary Clinton "the queen of warmongers."

[Pictured: Democratic presidential candidate, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard addresses the crowd at the Blue Jamboree, 2019.]

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Scott Eisen // Getty Images

#12. John Delaney (D)

- Total raised: $12,400,028
--- Total raised by candidate committee: $12,059,960
--- Total raised by outside groups: $340,068
- Total cash on hand: $759,990
- Sources of funding:
--- Small individual contributions (less than $200): $313,079
--- Large individual contributions: $2,115,495
--- PAC contributions: $174,250
--- Candidate self-financing: $9,540,507
--- Other: $0

Former Maryland Congressman John Delaney has made headlines for his physical characteristics. But the main focus of his presidential bid rests on aggressive climate action and generating job growth by highlighting entrepreneurship and small businesses. Delaney kicked off his 'Heartland StartUp Tour' Oct. 18, 2019, a four-day tour of Iowa with stops in six cities.

[Pictured: Democratic presidential candidate, former Rep. John Delaney speaks at the New Hampshire Democratic Party Convention, 2019.]

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Gage Skidmore // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Andrew Yang (D)

- Total raised: $15,020,173
--- Total raised by candidate committee: $15,020,173
--- Total raised by outside groups: $0
- Total cash on hand: $6,357,361
- Sources of funding:
--- Small individual contributions (less than $200): $9,987,259
--- Large individual contributions: $5,143,174
--- PAC contributions: $4,346
--- Candidate self-financing: $35,990
--- Other: $414

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang has attracted an enthusiastic base of support from his unconventional ideas and campaigning slogan, and it has resulted in a large volume of campaign donations. Almost $10 million of the more than $15 million he raised came from small individual contributions. Coming from a business background, much of Yang’s support comes from tech, business, and internet companies like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft.

[Pictured: Andrew Yang speaking with attendees at the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding at Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, 2019.]

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Ethan Miller // Getty Images

#10. Beto O'Rourke (D)

- Total raised: $17,221,208
--- Total raised by candidate committee: $17,221,208
--- Total raised by outside groups: $0
- Total cash on hand: $3,254,562
- Sources of funding:
--- Small individual contributions (less than $200): $9,081,392
--- Large individual contributions: $8,401,622
--- PAC contributions: $6,791
--- Candidate self-financing: $0
--- Other: $0

Former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke was able to continue his fundraising momentum from his close race for the Senate against Ted Cruz. Unsurprisingly, about a third of O’Rourke’s campaign contributions come from his home state. More money comes in from donors associated with the University of Texas than any other company, but O'Rourke also received sizable contributions from associates at Hunt Companies, Baron & Budd, and Centerbridge Partners.

[Pictured: Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke speaks during the 2020 Gun Safety Forum hosted by gun control activist groups Giffords and March, 2019.]

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Lorie Shaull // Wikipedia

#9. Amy Klobuchar (D)

- Total raised: $17,389,552
--- Total raised by candidate committee: $17,389,552
--- Total raised by outside groups: $0
- Total cash on hand: $3,679,592
- Sources of funding:
--- Small individual contributions (less than $200): $5,536,457
--- Large individual contributions: $8,371,732
--- PAC contributions: $4,250
--- Candidate self-financing: $0
--- Other: $3,575,275

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s campaign funds come from individual contributions. Most of her donations come from professionals associated with legal firms and the University of Minnesota.

[Pictured: Senator Amy Klobuchar made her announcement to run for president in 2020 on a snowy day Sunday at Boom Island Park in Minneapolis, MN, 2019.]

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Gage Skidmore // Flickr

#8. Cory Booker (D)

- Total raised: $19,330,607
--- Total raised by candidate committee: $18,205,502
--- Total raised by outside groups: $1,125,105
- Total cash on hand: $5,192,404
- Sources of funding:
--- Small individual contributions (less than $200): $4,315,927
--- Large individual contributions: $11,197,775
--- PAC contributions: $138,650
--- Candidate self-financing: $0
--- Other: $2,735,362

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, the former mayor of Newark, is running on a platform pledging national unity on the heels of Trump, criminal justice reform, and Medicare for All. He is a proponent of massive immigration reform, he detailed a $3 trillion climate change plan in September, he’s been a proponent of enormous defense spending, and he supports debt-free college plans.

[Pictured: U.S. Sen. Cory Booker speaking with the media at the California Democratic Party State Convention at the George R. Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, CA, 2019.]

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Gage Skidmore // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Kamala Harris (D)

- Total raised: $36,458,035
--- Total raised by candidate committee: $36,458,035
--- Total raised by outside groups: $0
- Total cash on hand: $10,510,809
- Sources of funding:
--- Small individual contributions (less than $200): $14,227,194
--- Large individual contributions: $21,278,767
--- PAC contributions: $64,988
--- Candidate self-financing: $0
--- Other: $1,279,394

The former attorney general of California and current Sen. Kamala Harris supports DACA and limiting ICE’s power, and opposes the border wall. She is a staunch advocate of abortion rights and recently unveiled a big plan for paid leave for up to six months for new parents. On foreign policy, Harris seeks to end U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, while domestically, she introduced the LIFT the Middle Class Act, which provides a refundable tax credit for middle-class families.

[Pictured: U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris speaking with attendees at the National Forum on Wages and Working People in Las Vegas, Nev., 2019.]

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Gage Skidmore // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Joe Biden (D)

- Total raised: $36,760,280
--- Total raised by candidate committee: $36,760,280
--- Total raised by outside groups: $0
- Total cash on hand: $8,987,628
- Sources of funding:
--- Small individual contributions (less than $200): $13,207,653
--- Large individual contributions: $24,426,934
--- PAC contributions: $69,915
--- Candidate self-financing: $0
--- Other: $8,936

The former vice president and Delaware senator’s resume speaks for itself; however, Joe Biden's platform focuses on healthcare (building upon the Affordable Care Act) and criminal-justice reform, wealth inequality, and lowering tuition—most notably with a massive plan for two years of free community college. While opposed to the border wall, Biden has still called for better border security, and he supports DACA, as it was created under Obama. Finally, Biden supports abortion and wants to re-establish the rights of transgender people to serve in the military.

[Pictured: Former vice president of the United States Joe Biden speaking with supporters at a town hall hosted by the Iowa Asian and Latino Coalition at Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 33 in Des Moines, Iowa, 2019.]

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Gage Skidmore // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Tom Steyer (D)

- Total raised: $49,633,653
--- Total raised by candidate committee: $49,633,653
--- Total raised by outside groups: $0
- Total cash on hand: $2,623,142
- Sources of funding:
--- Small individual contributions (less than $200): $1,482,530
--- Large individual contributions: $564,903
--- PAC contributions: $0
--- Candidate self-financing: $47,597,697
--- Other: $0

Hedge fund manager Tom Steyer—who joined the presidential race in July 2019—contributed $47.6 million to his own campaign, outpacing the $40.8 million President Trump raised in the same window. Steyer is a strong supporter of impeaching the president and promotes raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans in spite of being a billionaire himself.

[Pictured: Democratic presidential candidate and billionaire Tom Steyer speaking with attendees at the California Democratic Party State Convention in San Francisco, Calif., 2019]

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Scott Olson // Getty Images

#4. Pete Buttigieg (D)

- Total raised: $50,936,509
--- Total raised by candidate committee: $50,936,509
--- Total raised by outside groups: $0
- Total cash on hand: $23,378,518
- Sources of funding:
--- Small individual contributions (less than $200): $24,433,601
--- Large individual contributions: $27,028,690
--- PAC contributions: $8,055
--- Candidate self-financing: $0
--- Other: $40,922

Pete Buttigieg started off with little name recognition, but the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Ind., is a rising star. Among his policies, he seeks to expand the Supreme Court to 15 seats, eliminate the electoral college, and implement a public option (aka “Medicare for All Who Want It”). A self-professed healthcare moderate, he criticized the other candidates in September for their end-all-be-all proposals, saying those plans don’t “trust the American people. I trust you to choose what makes the most sense for you.” Like Biden, Buttigieg supports tightening border security (though he’s also opposed to the wall). Having acknowledged his identity as a gay man during the Houston debate, Buttigieg more recently revealed a plan targeting employment discrimination, returning veteran benefits to LGBTQ+ members who were discharged, and transgender rights.

[Pictured: South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks to guests during the United Food and Commercial Workers' (UFCW) 2020 presidential candidate forum, 2019.]

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ROBYN BECK/AFP // Getty Images

#3. Elizabeth Warren (D)

- Total raised: $60,049,476
--- Total raised by candidate committee: $60,049,476
--- Total raised by outside groups: $0
- Total cash on hand: $25,717,349
- Sources of funding:
--- Small individual contributions (less than $200): $31,964,058
--- Large individual contributions: $17,824,260
--- PAC contributions: $1,400
--- Candidate self-financing: $5,778
--- Other: $10,474,611

As a progressive figurehead advocating for regulation in Wall Street, Sen. Elizabeth Warren has received almost twice as many small donations as large. California, her home state of Massachusetts, and New York are the top three states where most of Warren’s funds come from. Warren took heat following the Ohio debates for evading questions about whether she'd raise taxes to pay for Medicare for All. She has since announced a forthcoming plan that, she claims, will explain how to pay for it. 

[Pictured: Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren arrives for a town hall devoted to LGBTQ+ issues hosted by CNN and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, 2019.]

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Scott Eisen // Getty Images

#2. Bernie Sanders (D)

- Total raised: $73,798,613
--- Total raised by candidate committee: $73,797,153
--- Total raised by outside groups: $1,460
- Total cash on hand: $33,735,079
- Sources of funding:
--- Small individual contributions (less than $200): $42,968,276
--- Large individual contributions: $18,488,369
--- PAC contributions: $5,029
--- Candidate self-financing: $0
--- Other: $12,822,174

No candidate on the campaign trail has been louder about campaign finance reform than Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. A major talking point from his campaign is the high volume of small donations that his candidacy receives, electing to not have his own large super PAC. Most of Sanders’ support comes from those working in academia.

[Pictured: Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during his event at Plymouth State University, 2019.]

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SAUL LOEB/AFP // Getty Images

#1. Donald Trump (R)

- Total raised: $245,944,826
--- Total raised by candidate committee: $165,671,189
--- Total raised by outside groups: $80,273,637
- Total cash on hand: $92,761,525
- Sources of funding:
--- Small individual contributions (less than $200): $35,005,622
--- Large individual contributions: $25,060,777
--- PAC contributions: $24,543
--- Candidate self-financing: $8,021
--- Other: $106,441,723

President Donald Trump won his election in 2016 mainly from free press valued at $5 billion, small individual donations, and self-funding his campaign. As the incumbent, Trump has received both small and large donations, with his larger contributors associated with casino hotel company Las Vegas Sands and real estate firm G.H. Palmer Associates.

You may also like: Presidential candidates spending the most on their campaigns

[Pictured: U.S. President Donald Trump gestures as he arrives for a "Keep America Great" rally at Sudduth Coliseum at the Lake Charles Civic Center in Lake Charles, La., 2019.]

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