Exxon denies that Trump called the CEO for money. But Big Oil donates much more to Trump than to Biden


US President Donald Trump is a strong supporter of the fossil fuel industry. And this support is paying off in the race for money.

Trump crushes Joe Biden in campaign donations from the besieged oil and gas industry. The president and outside groups aligned with him have raised nearly US $ 13 million from individuals at oil and gas companies, according to OpenSecrets, a research group that tracks money in politics. This easily overshadows the $ 976,000 the industry sent Biden.

It’s not shocking that the oil and gas industry is firmly on Trump’s side. Not only do oil-dominated states like Texas, Oklahoma, and North Dakota reliably vote Republican, but Trump has touted an agenda of US energy domination marked by reduced environmental regulations and surging energy exports. .

Still, the magnitude of Trump’s financial advantage far exceeds that of Republicans in each of the past three presidential races, according to OpenSecrets.

For example, in 2016 the oil and gas industry sent only $ 24,000 more to Trump than to Hillary Clinton and groups aligned with the former Democratic presidential candidate. In 2012, GOP candidate Mitt Romney topped former President Obama by $ 5.9 million to $ 841,000. And in 2008, former US Senator John McCain only raised about three times as much as Obama.

“Regulatory policy is oriented very aggressively towards the oil industry. And the industry wants it to continue like this, ”said Greg Valliere, chief US policy strategist at AGF Investments.

Trump, who largely follows Biden in the race for money, defended his fundraising skills on Monday night by declaring that he could be the “greatest fundraiser in history” if he called the head of the Wall Street and big energy companies and asked them to “do me a favor.”

“So I’m calling a guy, Exxon boss.” I’m calling Exxon boss, I don’t know, you know. I’m going to use a business, ”Trump said. ” ” Hi how are you? How does the energy come from? When are you exploring? Oh, you need some permits, eh? Ok … I would love for you to send me $ 25 million for the campaign. “”

Trump said he didn’t want to do this because then he would have become “totally compromised.”

Even though Trump simply mentioned Exxon as an example in its story, the company was quick to deny that such a conversation had taken place.

“We are aware of the president’s statement regarding a hypothetical call with our CEO… and so we are all clear, this never happened,” Exxon said in a tweet Monday evening.


Biden would represent a sea change – especially if Democrats also gain control of the US Senate.

The Democratic presidential candidate has vowed to stand up to polluters, in part by banning new oil and gas drilling on federal lands and demanding aggressive methane emission limits for new operations. And Biden’s $ 1.7 trillion climate plan, which is slated to go through Congress, involves significant new investments in solar, wind and other forms of clean energy.

While some leading Democrats and climate activists support a nationwide ban on hydraulic fracturing, Biden has explicitly opposed the ban on the controversial oil and gas drilling technique. (The Trump campaign wrongly said otherwise). Banning fracking would kill tens of thousands of oil and gas jobs – including jobs in Pennsylvania, the state that FiveThirtyEight says is most likely to provide the deciding vote in the Electoral College.

“Winning Pennsylvania is the ultimate prize in this election. Those 20 electoral votes could tip the whole election, ”Valliere said.

The oil industry isn’t the only one aggressively sending money to Trump. According to OpenSecrets, the Trump campaign and outside groups aligned with it have raised $ 38 million from employees of casinos and gambling companies. That’s well ahead of the $ 904,000 sent to Biden.

Likewise, Trump has a big lead in the health services industry, which sent him $ 38.7 million, compared to Biden’s just $ 2.8 million.


For his part, Biden is well ahead of Trump in terms of fundraising on Wall Street. The securities and investment industry sent him $ 11.9 million, nearly six times more than Trump. Individuals from hedge funds and private equity firms sent Biden $ 35.4 million, compared to Trump’s just $ 6.8 million, according to OpenSecrets.

In the oil industry, Trump has outperformed Biden in several large companies, including Occidental Petroleum and Halliburton. Surprisingly, however, Biden outclassed Trump among some of the biggest oil companies: ExxonMobil, Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell and ConocoPhillips, according to OpenSecrets.

It’s also worth noting that Trump’s lead in the industry could be inflated by large donations sent to groups outside allied to the president. There is no limit to the amount of money individuals can send to super PACs.

Excluding money sent to outside groups, Trump only raised $ 2.2 million from the oil industry, compared to $ 780,000 for Biden, according to OpenSecrets.

“When you step into the super PAC universe, all bets are off because one or two people can make or break the totals,” said Sarah Bryner, research director at the Center for Responsive Politics, which manages OpenSecrets.


The latest fundraising stats only work through August for contributions made directly to campaigns.

“Biden has raised an absolutely incredible amount of money. He could catch up “in the oil industry, Bryner said.

Part of Biden’s campaign war chest comes from people directly opposed to fossil fuels: climate activists.

For example, billionaire super-donor Tom Steyer and his wife Taylor contributed $ 55 million to Democrats in the 2020 cycle. This makes them the top contributors to Democrats and third overall, according to OpenSecrets.

“People looked at me 10 years ago like I had two heads when I said it was a mistake to invest in fossil fuels,” Steyer told CNN Business.

Steyer, who focused heavily on the climate crisis during his failed presidency, applauded the recent success of clean energy companies and promises from big banks to encourage customers to align with the deal of Paris on the climate.

“The market speaks. The market fundamentally accepts the idea that we have to go net zero, ”Steyer said.


Trump’s continued support for the oil industry has not paid off for shareholders.

During Trump’s presidency, the energy sector is the worst performing of the entire S&P 500, according to Raymond James, continuing a trend that began before his tenure.

“You have applause from the White House and yet the energy sector has significantly underperformed,” said Ed Mills, policy analyst at Raymond James.

Of course, it’s possible that oil stocks might have performed even worse if Trump wasn’t in power.

One of the problems is that Trump’s efforts to cut regulatory red tape have only amplified the oil glut by keeping a lid on prices. There is so much crude that US oil prices briefly fell negative this spring.

And Trump’s war on regulation only fuels concerns about the climate crisis and the rise of socially conscious investing – two major forces that are hurting energy stocks.

Ultimately, Trump’s oil and gas fundraising prowess may reflect a sense that he will back them if the industry downturn worsens.

“They can look at Trump as the ultimate insurance policy,” Valliere said.


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