"Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests and my fellow citizens, America's homecoming begins right now." In this way, Donald Trump began his speech in which he announced his candidacy for the next presidential elections in 2024. So far, he is the only Republican hopeful to confirm his candidacy. Everything points to the fact that he will have to face other members of the Republican Party in a hypothetical primary. And among them is the name of Ron DeSantis. The Florida governor's landslide victory in the midterm elections and likely candidacy influenced Donald Trump to hit a stumbling block after his announcement: the GOP's mega-donors.
Some have already said they will not support him, such as Ronald Lauder. Despite donating nearly $100,000 to the Republican National Committee in 2019 to boost Trump's candidacy, the president of the World Jewish Congress and son of the founders of cosmetics firm Estée Lauder will not endorse the former president in 2024, his spokesman assured the CNBC. However, Florida election campaign records list Lauder's $10,000 contribution to DeSantis for the past midterms.
Another mega-donor who threw his support behind Florida's governor is Ken Griffin. The founder and top shareholder of Citadel - known to be one of the GOP's biggest donors - confirmed to Politician that he would endorse DeSantis if he runs in the next presidential election despite his past support for Trump:
[Trump] He did many things very well and failed in some important areas. For a litany of reasons, I think it's time to move on to the next generation.
"I'm not giving you a f***ing dime."
Businessman Andy Sabin told CNBC that "I'm not giving a f***ing dime" to Donald Trump. Sabin, who donated $120,000 to the former president for the 2020 election, blamed Trump for the GOP's electoral defeat in the Senate in the midterms. The businessman donated $55,000 to a pro-DeSantis Political Action Committee (PAC).
Stephen Ross, owner of the Miami Dolphins soccer team, organized a 2019 fundraising campaign for Trump's candidacy. For this midterm election, the sports businessman donated $220,000 to the Friends of Ron DeSantis PAC.
Blackstone CEO and co-founder Stephen Schwarzman gave millions of dollars to pro-Trump PACs. In these midterms, he shied away from candidates endorsed by the former president and said he will support "a new generation":
America does better when its leaders are rooted in today and tomorrow, not today and yesterday. 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.
Interactive Brokers' founder Thomas Peterffy shared the same opinion as Schwarzman:
I think we need a fresh face. The problem with Trump is he has so many negatives. He can’t get elected, period.
Donations to the DeSantis Campaign
In addition to those already mentioned, the re-elected governor of Florida received a great deal of financial backing for his campaign from other businessmen. DeSantis received $800,000 from the founder of WeatherTech car accessory manufacturer David McNeil. The businessman opposed Donald Trump in 2020.
Billionaire Paul Tudor Jones gave nearly $1 million to DeSantis' candidacy for the midterm elections.
Rupert Murdoch will not endorse Trump
Sources close to the Fox News chairman assured this week that Rupert Murdoch will not support Donald Trump's candidacy. In fact, they went so far as to confirm that they would endorse a Democratic candidate should Trump win a potential GOP primary or be the only candidate running.
"We have been clear with Donald, there have been conversations between them in which Rupert has made it clear to Donald that we cannot support another run for the White House," the source said.