GOP billionaire megadonors distance themselves from Trump’s 2024 race

Former President Donald Trump is moving forward with another run for the White House.

But Trump still can’t count on the financial support of some wealthy backers who were once on his side.

At least three billionaire GOP megadonors have already distanced themselves from his 2024 campaign, with one prominent benefactor not even waiting for Trump’s announcement to throw cold water on the former president’s prospects.

Earlier in the week, Trump drew the ire of the billionaire founder and CEO of the Citadel hedge fund, Ken Griffin, a prominent Republican donor.

Griffin called Trump a “three-time underdog” at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore on Tuesday, just hours before Trump was to officially enter the presidential race in an announcement Tuesday night. The Citadel chief executive said the former president should step aside for fresh faces like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has yet to announce a formal candidacy but is expected to enter the race.

While Griffin’s only donation to Trump was a $100,000 check for his inaugural committee in 2017, the hedge funder has previously embraced some Trump policies, including public praise of the administration’s economic efforts and its less-than-regulatory approach. restrictive.

A day later, Trump’s Wall Street ally Stephen Schwarzman, founder and chief executive of private equity giant Blackstone, said he would not endorse the former president.

Stephen A. Schwarzman, Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder of Blackstone, sits near former US President Donald Trump April 11, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

“America does best when its leaders are rooted in today and tomorrow, not today and yesterday,” Schwarzman said in a statement Wednesday, first reported by Axios. “It is time for the Republican Party to turn to a new generation of leaders and I intend to endorse one of them in the presidential primary.”

Ronald Lauder, a longtime friend of Trump, son of Estée Lauder and heir to the cosmetics fortune, has also said he will not endorse Trump’s run for the White House, CNBC reported Wednesday.

The defections of the three billionaires deal a symbolic blow to Trump’s early re-election efforts given their public influence as two of the biggest political donors to the Republican Party.

Before the midterms, Griffin was the third-biggest donor in this year’s political cycle, shelling out more than $68 million for Republican efforts, according to OpenSecrets, the nonprofit organization that tracks campaign and lobbying spending. Schwarzman committed more than $35 million to the party during 2022.

Other billionaire GOP donors who could do the same to break Trump’s race include Uline shipping conglomerate founders Richard Ellis Uihlein and Elizabeth Uihlein, options trader Jeffrey S. Yass and Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison. , whose donations to Republican efforts this year totaled about $81 million, $44 million and $31 million, respectively.

Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alexandraandnyc

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