President Trump made a hypothetical statement during a rally on Monday, using ExxonMobil as an example of a company he could call and ask for campaign donations in exchange for government favors. The oil giant quickly tweeted a clarification.
"We are aware of the president's statement regarding a hypothetical call with our CEO," ExxonMobil stated, "and just so we're all clear, it never happened."
At a rally in Prescott, Arizona, Trump had praised his own prowess at soliciting campaign donations, telling supporters he would be the "greatest fundraiser in history. All I have to do is call up the head of every Wall Street firm, the head of every major company, the head of every major energy company. 'Do me a favor, send me $10 million for my campaign.' 'Yes sir.' They say, 'The only thing is, why didn't you ask for more, sir?' I would be — I would take in more money, but you know what? I don't want to do that. Because if I do that, I'm totally compromised."
Trump then sketched out a possible quid pro quo. "So I call some guy, the head of Exxon, I call the head of Exxon — I don't know, I'll use a company," he said. "'Hi, how 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 [for you] to send me $25 million for the campaign.' 'Absolutely sir, why didn't you ask, would you like some more?' If I made the call I will hit a home run, every single call. I would raise a billion dollars in one day, if I wanted to. I don't want to do that, I don't want to do it."
The topic has been on Trump's mind lately, as his campaign falls behind Democratic nominee Joe Biden in fundraising. He brought it up during a rally Saturday in Wisconsin, too, CBS News noted, telling the crowd he "could have more money" if he would "call up Wall Street," but "then when they call you, you've got to take that call."