While the public campaign finance of today is generally considered inadequate to meet the financing needs of a modern election, the idea of freeing candidates from fundraising and political interest groups has historically received support from both sides of the aisle.
It was Republican President Theodore Roosevelt who first proposed a public financing fund, in his 1907 State of the Union speech.
"The need for collecting large campaign funds would vanish if Congress provided an appropriation for the proper and legitimate expenses of each of the great national parties," he said. "An appropriation ample enough to meet the necessity for thorough organization and machinery, which requires a large expenditure of money."
John F. Kennedy raised the idea again in 1960, but his proposal was blocked by Congress. Lyndon Johnson instituted the Presidential Election Campaign Act in 1966, which was deactivated by Democratic senators and then revived again by Democrats in 1973. The modern system was set up in 1974 after Watergate.
Recently, Republicans have pushed back on the fund, pointing out that its restrictions make it nearly irrelevant. Jeb Bush called public finance "welfare for politicians" and campaigned against it, despite supporting it on his taxes at least once. In the last election, only Martin O'Malley and Jill Stein took public funds, leaving the majority of the money untouched.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.