President Donald Trump described soliciting a bribe from Exxon Mobil (XOM) - Get Report in a campaign speech Monday in an apparent attempt to demonstrate how easily he could outdo Democrat Joe Biden in fundraising.
"I would be the greatest fundraiser in history,” Trump boasted during a speech in Arizona. “All I have to do is call up the head of every Wall St. 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."
Trump went on to say, “Don't forget, I'm not bad at that [fundraising] stuff anyway, and I'm president. So I call some guy, the head of Exxon. I call the head of Exxon. I don't know,” Trump said going on to describe the conversation “How are you doing? How’s energy coming? When are you doing the exploration? Oh, you need a couple of permits, huh? Okay.”
Trump continued, "I would hit a home run every single call. I would raise a billion dollars in one day, if I wanted to."
Trump's campaign has fallen behind Biden's in fundraising in recent weeks, forcing the president to curtail TV advertising in many states.
Criticism of Trump's comments was quick on Twitter. Congressman Ted Lieu, D-CA, a persistent Trump critic, tweeted that the president had described conduct that is a "felony and is punishable by jail time."
Exxon-Mobil later put out a tweet denying that the situation Trump described had happened.
“We are aware of the President’s statement regarding a hypothetical call with our CEO…and just so we’re all clear, it never happened,” Exxon tweeted.
Trump was impeached last year on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress for soliciting a political favor from the president of the Ukraine, in exchange for releasing military aid that had already been approved by Congress. The Republican-controlled senate acquitted Trump in February.
Former Exxon-Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson served as Trump’s first secretary of state, until the president became disenchanted with him and fired him by tweet in March of 2018. During his time in office, Tillerson had reportedly described Trump as a "moron."
Shares of Exxon Mobil rose 20 cents, or 0.6%, to $33.62 in after-hours trading.