Multiple donors who have been responsible for or involved in high-dollar fundraising for the Trump political team are already distancing themselves from him as he starts his next attempt at winning the presidency.
They’re not entirely breaking with the Republican Party. Instead, they’re focusing their interest on potential contenders for the presidency who have a record of actually winning, unlike Trump, whose recent record is full of failures. That includes the midterm elections, when candidates with which he closely associated himself in several swing states lost, allowing Democrats to add several states to the list where the party has unified control of the governorship and legislature while retaining control of the U.S. Senate and keeping Republicans at what seems like it’ll be a laughably thin majority in the U.S. House.
Andy Sabin, who provided $120,000 in support of Trump’s 2020 campaign for re-election, said this time around he’s not giving Donald a cent. In this year’s election cycle, he gave $55,000 to a group participating in the push to re-elect Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis, who ultimately prevailed over his Democratic challenger last week by a massive margin of nearly 20 percent. DeSantis’s popularity also seems likely to have helped other Republicans in the state, where the party secured super-majorities of both chambers of the state legislature. Others also specifically threw their weight behind DeSantis, at least tentatively. “Miami Dolphins owner and real estate titan Stephen Ross, has told friends that he likes DeSantis and could back him if he ran for president, according to a person close to the billionaire,” according to CNBC. Ross gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to the same DeSantis campaign-aligned group to which Sabin donated.
Ross previously hosted a fundraiser for Trump and the Republican Party at a personal residence. Others with shifting alignments include Citadel CEO Ken Griffin, who was behind $100 million in giving throughout the midterms — and has provided millions to that same pro-DeSantis group. “He did a lot of things really well and missed the mark on some important areas,” Griffin said of Trump. “And for a litany of reasons, I think it’s time to move on to the next generation.” And in yet another example, Stephen Schwarzman, who leads the investment firm Blackstone, is also distancing himself from Trump. “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,” he told Axios.
Although there are relatively strict limits on fundraising at federal campaigns, individuals like Griffin and Schwarzman can provide larger donations to technically outside groups that support targeted candidates. That’s the mechanism Peter Thiel used to provide millions of dollars in support of the bid by Ohio Republican J.D. Vance for the Senate. Elsewhere, Republican Senators like Cynthia Lummis, John Thune, and John Cornyn have also distanced themselves from Trump’s 2024 bid, at least for now — although Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) sounded rather eager to get onboard. “His speech tonight, contrasting his policies and results against the Biden Administration, charts a winning path for him in the primaries and general election,” Graham said. The Senator sounded hopeful Trump would focus on policy rather than personal grievances like his 2020 loss. He does remember who he’s talking about, right?