Thursday, August 11 2022

A video of former US President Donald Trump from his Jan. 6 Rose Garden statement plays as Cassidy Hutchinson, who was an aide to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows during the Trump administration, testifies during a public hearing of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol, on Capitol Hill, in Washington, June 28, 2022.

Shawn Thew | Swimming pool | Reuters

Support from some of the Republican Party’s biggest donors for a White House led by former President Donald Trump in 2024 is waning, particularly after damaging new details of his actions on January 6, 2021 emerged during a hearing. Tuesday by the House Select Committee investigating the attack on the United States Capitol.

Republican financiers and their advisers have been meeting privately since the committee began releasing the initial findings of its ongoing investigation in a series of public hearings earlier this month, according to interviews with top fundraisers in the GOP who helped the party raise millions of dollars. Most people asked not to be named because they didn’t want to provoke retaliation from Trump or his allies. They discussed the upcoming 2022 midterms and who they will back in 2024. One name that doesn’t come up often as a potential candidate they want to back for the presidency again is Trump, these people explained.

“Donors are very concerned that Trump is the only Republican who can lose in 2024,” Eric Levine, a longtime GOP lawyer and fundraiser, said after Hutchinson’s hearing. “I think the donors were already moving away from Trump,” he noted. Levine is co-hosting a fundraising event for former Trump-endorsed television host and current Pennsylvania Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz in New York in September, according to an invitation reviewed by CNBC.

For Trump, it’s a similar theme to his first run for president. Many business leaders backed other Republican candidates like Jeb Bush early in the race, but later backed Trump when it was clear he was going to win the GOP nomination.

“The silence is deafening”

A person close to some of New York’s top real estate executives who backed Trump in both of his White House runs said this time was different. Their view is that he took “major knocks” in the January 6 hearings. No member of this group comes to defend him, at least for the moment.

“The silence is deafening,” the person added.

The lack of interest in Trump from some of the wealthiest Republican donors could spur fundraising efforts for other GOP presidential candidates. Several Republicans could run in 2024, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Tim Scott, RS.C. and Senator Tom Cotton R-Ark. Scott is up for re-election in 2022, but recently headlined an event in Iowa, a key state for presidential candidates. Cotton is said to have met with donors to discuss a possible run for the presidency in 2024.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida on February 24, 2022.

Mark Bello | Reuters

The former president has not publicly ruled out running for the White House again in two years after losing to President Joe Biden in 2020. Despite the lack of support from business leaders, Trump has maintained a huge treasury campaign war thanks in large part to small donors. .

His political action committee, Save America, had more than $100 million as of June, according to the latest filing from the Federal Election Commission. Trump-affiliated super PAC Make America Great Again, Again received support from a small group of wealthy donors in May, including $150,000 from real estate mogul Geoffrey Palmer and $250,000 from David Frecka, the founder of NextGeneration Films. The super PAC raised over $770,000 in May.

Trump’s fundraising success

Taylor Budowich, a spokesperson for Trump, bragged about the former president’s record of endorsing GOP candidates and their fundraising success.

“President Trump’s approval record is 146 to 10, his Save America political committee continues to raise unprecedented amounts of money, and the American people remain hungry for his leadership,” Budowich said. “And as another witch hunt erupts in the faces of Democrats, President Trump is in a stronger position now than at any time before.”

Still, some prospective Republican candidates have already garnered enough donations that show they can compete with Trump’s political juggernaut should they run for president.

DeSantis raised just over $10 million in May for his 2022 re-election bid for governor. That brought his total fundraising in the current election cycle to more than $120 million, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. Pence met with political donors as he lays the groundwork for a possible 2024 race. Trump criticized Pence for certifying the results of the 2020 election on Jan. 6, as rioters called for his hanging.

Pence fundraiser

Pence spoke with the New York State Conservative Party last week, with tickets up to $5,000 per person, according to an invitation reviewed by CNBC. He is set to meet dozens of donors at a private retreat in Montana in September, according to a person briefed on the matter. A political adviser to Pence confirmed that the retreat will take place in support of the former vice president’s 501(c)(4), Advancing American Freedom.

In this image from the video, Vice President Mike Pence speaks as the Senate reconvenes after protesters stormed into the US Capitol on Wednesday, January 6, 2021.

Senate TV via AP

“There will be a mix of big donors, conservative opinion leaders and elected officials,” the adviser said. “The focus will be on the work the AAF is doing, plans to impact important policy issues for the midterms and a broader discussion of the agenda of the conservative movement.”

The group recently released a video celebrating the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Similar to a campaign-style ad, it also highlighted Pence’s positions on abortion and his role in advising Trump on the choice of judges Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. The ad notably does not mention Trump by name.

Testimonial Hutchinson

Tuesday’s testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to then-Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, was one of several recent breaking points for Republican megadonors waiting to decide whether they should again. help Trump, according to people who have helped Trump’s past campaigns. .

Cassidy Hutchinson, who was an aide to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows during the administration of former US President Donald Trump, testifies at a US House Select Committee public hearing investigating the attack of January 6 against the United States Capitol, at the Capitol, in Washington, on June 28, 2022.

Andre Harnik | Swimming pool | Reuters

Hutchinson gave some of the January 6 committee’s most explosive testimony to date. She said she was told Trump pounced on a Secret Service agent after his security guards refused to take the former president to the US Capitol to meet protesters who later rioted in the streets. halls of Congress. Trump and his allies have tried to discredit Hutchinson’s claims. The former president took to Truth Social to distance himself from the former aide, saying he barely knew her.

A Republican fundraiser, who actively raised money for Trump and the Republican National Committee in 2020, told CNBC after Tuesday’s hearing “I don’t think a major donor with business interests would support a presidential race. of Trump after today’s hearing”. This person said they would not feel comfortable, based on these findings, “working for Trump’s campaign again or fundraising for another presidential election.

Some of Trump’s business supporters had already disappeared from his corner immediately after the Jan. 6 attack. Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone, who openly supported Trump’s policies when he was president, said after the Jan. 6 riot he felt “betrayed” by Trump.

Trump had a slew of named GOP major donors who backed him, including members of the Mercer family, Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman, casino moguls Miriam Adelson and her late husband Sheldon Adelson, and the Wall Street leader Nelson Peltz. Many of those donors backed Trump in 2016 as the Republican primary drew to a close and later his bid for re-election in 2020.

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