A day after Donald Trump announced his third bid for the presidency, he faced a public betrayal by billionaire supporters and a vicious attack from a once-friendly New York tabloid – underscoring his unease in politics nearly two years after the split ended. An early challenge for the presidency on a comeback.
Stephen Schwarzman, chief executive of private equity firm Blackstone and a former Trump ally, announced on Wednesday that he would not support Trump for the Republican nomination, saying it was now the “Republican election.” It is time to turn to a new generation of leaders.” ”
A spokesman for cosmetics heir Ronald Lauder, another billionaire backer, confirmed to CNN on Wednesday that Lauder would not be supporting Trump to become the second president-elect. President of the United States for two non-consecutive terms.
In another sign that the once-Trump conservative media empire controlled by Rupert Murdoch has shifted away from Trump, the New York Post reported on Wednesday that The brutal headline “Been there, Don That” headlined his campaign announcements. (By contrast, a front-page headline in The Post last week hailed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as a “DeFuture” after the GOP won a second term.)
The withdrawal of some donors suggests that some of the party’s elite are open to alternatives with the next presidential election two years away. Trump, who relies on a small donor base to fuel his political ambitions, remains a formidable fundraising force. Unprecedentedly, he never stopped fundraising after leaving the White House, and his political committee lineup has amassed a cash pile of more than $100 million.
Trump is the first major Republican candidate to announce his candidacy. Over the weekend, DeSantis — a potential rival for the nomination — will address one of the Republican Party’s most powerful donor groups at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual dinner. Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, another Republican seen as a possible presidential candidate, will also speak at the event in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
RJC executive director Matthew Brooks said Trump remains a “significant factor” in Republican politics and has won praise from coalition members for his steadfast support for Israel.
But “people are shopping now,” Brooks added. “Someone asked if we needed a new direction and new faces.”
Brooks said Trump had been invited to the RJC gathering but had conflicting schedules.
CNN has reached out to Trump aides for comment.
Schwarzman’s exit from Trump is of particular significance because he is one of the largest donors in Republican politics and donated $3 million in 2020 to super PACs in support of Trump’s unsuccessful re-election bid .
In the midterms alone, Schwarzman donated more than $35 million to Republican candidates and groups active in federal elections, according to OpenSecrets, a nonprofit that tracks political funding.
“America will do better when its leaders are rooted in today and tomorrow, rather than today and yesterday,” Schwarzman said in the statement, which was first reported by Axios. Schwarzman said he would support one of the Republican Party’s “new generation of leaders,” but did not say who he was considering.
Another big Republican donor, Citadel’s Ken Griffin, recently said he would support DeSantis in 2024 if Florida’s governor seeks the Republican nomination.
Lauder, a longtime friend of Trump and a financial backer of Republican candidates and causes, did not say who would win his support.
This story has been updated with additional developments.