‘On the Sidelines’: GOP Megadonor Drops Support for DeSantis’ Presidential Bid

A major GOP donor and multi-billionaire indicated Monday that he hasn’t made any donations or is supporting any of the Republican candidates.

A major GOP donor and multi-billionaire indicated Monday that he hasn’t made any donations and isn’t supporting any of the Republican candidates during the 2024 primary season.

Ken Griffin, the CEO of investment firm Citadel who is worth about $35 billion, told CNBC that “I’m still on the sidelines as to who to support in this election cycle.”

“Look, if I had my dream, we’d have a great Republican candidate in the primary who was younger, of a different generation, with a different tone for America,
the billionaire said. “And we’d have a younger person on the Democratic side in the primary, who would have his message for our country.”

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Previously, Mr. Griffin had expressed some public support for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, backing his gubernatorial election in 2022. Before Mr. DeSantis launched his bid for the White House in May, Mr. Griffin said last year that the United States “would be well-served by [DeSantis] as president.”

But he’s been critical of the Florida governor’s 2024 presidential bid and also criticized the governor’s spat with Disney. That criticism extended into his interview on Monday.

“I don’t know his strategy,” Mr. Griffin said Monday of Mr. DeSantis’s campaign, although he described his first term in office as governor as “phenomenal.” For 2024, “It’s not clear to me what voter base he is intending to appeal to,” he added.

In recent days, Mr. DeSantis has failed to garner much momentum against his chief opponent, former President Donald Trump. A recent survey from Quinnipiac shows that the Florida governor is polling around 12 percent as compared to the former president’s 62 percent. Other candidates are in the single digits.

Mr. Griffin also faulted the Florida governor over his legal battles with Disney, which came after the media giant publicly criticized a DeSantis-backed law that prevented Florida teachers from instructing young schoolchildren on sexual orientation and gender. Disney has since sued Florida after the state revoked the firm’s self-governing status in Disney World last year.

Republican presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, on Aug. 12, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)
Republican presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, on Aug. 12, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

Over the years, Mr. Griffin has provided tens of millions of dollars to various candidates. Reports have indicated that in 2022, the billionaire investor provided more than $100 million during the midterm cycle, with most being Republicans.

“As the presidential campaigns unfold, I am assessing how the policies of each candidate will address the challenges facing our country,” he later told CNBC in Monday in a statement, explaining his positions on certain policies. “I care deeply about individual rights and freedom, economic policies that encourage prosperity and upward mobility, all children having access to a high-quality education, ensuring our communities are safe, and a strong national defense.”

Other than Mr. DeSantis, the billionaire has not been vocal about other GOP candidates. However, he’s publicly expressed his disdain for President Trump in previous interviews, saying after last year’s midterm elections that the former president is a “three-time loser” who shouldn’t run again.

Mr. DeSantis has not publicly responded to the Citadel founder’s comments on Monday. The Epoch Times has contacted his campaign for comment.

With Mr. Griffin’s latest remarks, it’s not the first time that Mr. DeSantis has reportedly faced issues from his major donors or backers. An analysis from Politico, released earlier this month, found that about 50 donors who provided $160,000 or more to the governor ahead of his 2022 reelection campaign have mostly departed.

Around 16 of such donors, the analysis revealed, have given to his Never Back Down political action committee and eight others have provided donations to Mr. DeSantis’s campaign.

“Ron DeSantis outraised both Biden and Trump last quarter, and we continue to see overwhelming enthusiasm from grassroots and major supporters chipping in to help our campaign,” DeSantis campaign spokesperson Andrew Romeo told Politico in response to the report. “We look forward to continued fundraising success this quarter as we capitalize on his strong debate performance and momentum in the early states.”

A hotel magnate, Robert Bigelow, who is worth about $1 billion, is the largest individual contributor to Never Back Down. However, he claimed recently that Mr. DeSantis’s campaign has to “shift to get to moderates” and accused him of fostering “extremism,” making reference to a ban on certain abortions.

“A lot of his donors are still on the fence,” he told Reuters in August, adding that he wants the governor to be “able to generate more on his own.”

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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