The top two GOP donors in America are now saying that they won’t back former President Donald J. Trump’s bid for re-election and will instead look for another candidate to back.
Republican Mega-donors Steven Schwarzman and Thomas Peterffy say they won’t be backing President Trump’s bid for a return to the White House, saying it’s time to move on for the party.
“America does better when its leaders are rooted in today and tomorrow, not today and yesterday,” Schwarzman, Blackstone Inc.’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. “It is time for the Republican Party to turn to a new generation of leaders and I intend to support one of them in the presidential primaries.”
Peterffy, the founder of Interactive Brokers Group Inc. who contributed $250,000 to Trump’s 2020 campaign, agree it is time to flip the page.
“We need a fresh face,” Peterffy said Wednesday in an interview. “The problem with Trump is he has so many negatives. He can’t get elected, period.”
Peterffy, 78, said he would vote for Trump if the former president ends up being the nominee in 2024, but added, “I will do whatever I can to make sure he is not.”
Ronald Lauder also doesn’t plan to support Trump in the next presidential election, a spokesperson for the cosmetics heir said Wednesday. Lauder contributed $200,000 to Trump’s 2020 campaign.
Hedge fund Billionaire Ken Griffin, a leading Republican donor, says he won’t be opening his wallet for President Trump either.
“He did a lot of things really well and missed the mark on some important areas,” Griffin told Politico. “And for a litany of reasons, I think it’s time to move on to the next generation.”
Griffin, Peterffy and Schwarzman are among the world’s richest people, worth a collective $85 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
It’s unclear how much the rejection of big GOP donors hurts Trump, however. He was successful in 2016 without major party backers and appeals to his base with a populist message.
Still, losing the support of deep-pocketed backers can send a signal to other potential wealthy donors, said David Tamasi, a Republican fundraiser and lobbyist.
“When folks like this don’t get involved, you lose the money and you also lose the multiplier effect that they have in their respective political orbits,” he said.
Griffin never donated to Trump. And Schwarzman didn’t support him until he was already president, giving $344,400 in December 2017 to a committee that supported Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee. In all, Schwarzman gave $3.7 million to committees that supported Trump.
Schwarzman also didn’t agree with Trump’s claims that he won the 2020 presidential election and it was stolen, despite the majority of conservatives polled believing that it was in fact not legit.
“I am shocked and horrified by this mob’s attempt to undermine our Constitution,” Schwarzman wrote at the time. “As I said in November, the outcome of the election is very clear and there must be a peaceful transition of power.”
Peterffy, who lives in Palm Beach, Florida, said he’d recently tried to organize a group of donors to visit Trump at his Mar-a-Lago club.
“The idea was to try to talk him into not announcing, but once he announced the die is cast,” Peterffy said. “It is much more difficult now to stop him.”
Trump’s formal announcement complicates his finances by triggering election law, but his political committees had $84 million in the bank according to their latest filings with the Federal Election Commission. Under federal law, his leadership PAC, which has $70 million, can only donate $5,000 to his presidential campaign.
Trump also won’t be able to coordinate with a new super-PAC, which got a $20 million infusion from his leadership PAC before the midterms. It had more than $23 million cash on hand on Oct. 19.
Peterffy said he’d prefer to see DeSantis, former CIA Director Michael Pompeo or Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin get the GOP nomination, while persuading Trump to “come over to our side and campaign with us for a younger person.”
Trump “could be a kingmaker or a loser,” said Peterffy, who has a fortune of $23.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg wealth index. “It’s a relatively simple choice.”
What are your thoughts? Most people want to stay with the person who brought them to the dance, and that’s Donald J. Trump. What about you America?
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