(Bloomberg) -- Donald Trump raised $40 million from oil executives and other deep-pocketed donors in Texas, marking Wednesday’s haul as one of the most profitable days for the presumptive Republican nominee seeking to close a fundraising gap with President Joe Biden. 

The one-day cash raise from events in Houston and Dallas, described by people familiar with the events, comes as Trump directly appeals to the oil industry for support in his presidential bid with promises to dial back environmental regulations, which are drawing congressional scrutiny. 

Trump first met with donors at Houston’s posh Post Oak Hotel — a 700,000 square-foot mixed-use site owned by billionaire Houston businessman Tilman Fertitta that houses a Rolls Royce dealership and is topped with a helicopter pad. Hotel guests have the option to purchase one of the Rolls Royce cars and charge it to their rooms. Trump later attended a dinner in Dallas.

Trump made pledges to those in attendance in Houston — many of whom donned luxury fashion brands and cowboy boots — to “drill, baby, drill” and open up more areas for energy development. Continental Resources Inc. Chair Harold Hamm and Occidental Petroleum Corp. Chief Executive Officer Vicki Hollub were among those present.

The oil and gas industry has increasingly shelled out to support Trump’s bid. It’s a relationship that has come under scrutiny by congressional Democrats, with two US Senate committees on Thursday opening an investigation into whether Trump is soliciting campaign donations from oil companies and their executives in exchange for policy decisions. 

The probe is tied to Trump’s entreaties for $1 billion in donations during an April meeting with oil and gas executives at his Mar-a-Lago resort, described by people familiar with the exchange. 

Trump’s day of fundraising in Texas came close to the more than $50 million raised last month at a Palm Beach event hosted by billionaire John Paulson. The former president has ramped up fundraising efforts since he became the presumptive Republican nominee in March.

Of the $40 million raised, $15 million is money specifically for the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee and the state parties, according to a person familiar. The rest is super political action committee money, which can be used to support Trump, but the PAC organizers can’t coordinate directly with the campaign.

Biden, with $192 million in the bank, has roughly twice as much cash on hand as Trump. However, in April, Trump outraised Biden for the first time, signaling the former president may be able to tighten that gap.

Read More: Trump Leads Biden in Monthly Fundraising for First Time

Political Allies

During his Wednesday luncheon speech in Houston before roughly 150 donors, according to people at the event, Trump highlighted Biden’s verbal and physical stumbles, criticized the number of undocumented immigrants crossing the southern border and, with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton looking on, discussed the state’s legal fights against the administration. 

Trump, who has said he would consider Paxton to serve as attorney general in a potential second administration, praised the Texas Republican for being legally attacked after his impeachment last year by his state’s House of Representatives before being acquitted by the Senate. Trump called Paxton a “great Texan,” one person in the room said.

Taken together, Trump’s luncheon remarks were “all about winning in November,” Texas Republican State Senator Mayes Middleton said.

With some of the biggest oil and gas company bosses in front of him, Trump only briefly touched on energy issues during his lunchtime speech, people in the room said. One billionaire oilman said he left early because of the lack of policy specifics.

Energy Discussions

Detailed energy policy talk came later in a smaller roundtable at the Post Oak Hotel with fewer than a dozen donors. Trump was flanked by North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, a potential pick for vice president, who handled some of the finer points, one person in the room said.

The group discussed China’s dominance in electric vehicle manufacturing and other matters, said Canary Drilling Services LLC Chief Executive Officer Dan Eberhart.

Industry officials emphasized their fear that the current regulatory approach in Washington amounts to death by a thousand cuts for oil and gas companies, Eberhart said. Trump, in turn, repeatedly stressed that he stands for what’s good for America, and that we need energy to thrive and keep the economy growing, Eberhart said.

Concerns were also raised about California’s unique legal authority to set more stringent air pollution standards than the federal government, Eberhart said.

--With assistance from Nancy Cook, Stephanie Lai, Bill Allison and Ari Natter.

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.